Over One Hundred and Seventy-eight await Judiciary verdict
The Judiciary of Sierra Leone under the leadership of His Lordship the Hon. Desmond Babatunde Edwards on 10th February 2020, commenced the holding of a criminal session in Moyamba and the same will be held in Port Loko on the 17th February and Pujehun on the 24th February in which one hundred and seventy-eight (178) criminal verdicts on assorted criminal matters will be delivered by two judges of the High Court of Sierra Leone.
According to the Public Relations Officer of the Judiciary of Sierra Leone, Moses Lamin Karama, the criminal session is a creature of Statutory Instrument No. 21 of 2019 and it makes provision for the Hon. Chief Justice to hold special criminal session in Moyamba, Pujehun, Port Loko, Kabala, Mattru Jong, Kailahun and Tonkolili.
Mr. Moses Kamara said one hundred and seventy-eight (178) criminal cases will be expeditiously tried and verdicts delivered within two weeks by the Hon. Justice Alfred Ganda presiding in Moyamba and Pujehun and Hon. Samuel O. Taylor in Port Loko. Port Loko has ninety-two (92) cases with thirty-eight (38) are sexual penetration, Moyamba fifty-four (54) of which twenty-eight (28) are sexual penetration matters and Pujehun with thirty-two(32) of which sixteen (16) are sexual penetration matters.
Mr. Kamara revealed that the move taken by the leadership of the Judiciary is aimed at ensuring that justice is delivered to hundreds of victims, as well as accused persons expeditiously. He said the same will be replicated in Kabala, Mattru Jong and Kailahun on the 9th March, 2020 respectively.
Despite the move by relevant authorities in enacting harsher legislations such as the Sexual Offences (amendment) Act of 2019 and other campaigns including the First Lady’s ‘Hands Off Our Girls’, the number of sexual penetration cases coming to the High Court are steadily on the increase as manifested on the aforementioned figures.
It could be recalled that several moves have been taken by the Hon. Chief Justice in ensuring that the rights of accused persons and victims are upheld. Upon assuming office, the Hon. Chief Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards enforced the application and effective public education of the Bail Regulations, 2018 and the Judicial Week in which one thousand inmates, who had not be coming to court for several reasons, were accorded the right to make their day in court. However, some were sentenced, acquitted and discharged and forty-seven (47) were discharged on Habeas corpus application.