February 8, 2018 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
The Judiciary of Sierra Leone Wednesday, February 7, opened a book of condolence in honour of the late Honourable Justice Edmond K. Cowan. The retired Judge of the Appeal Court of Sierra Leone died on Wednesday, January 24, aged 80.
Speaking at the solemn ceremony held at the Chief Justice Chambers, main Law Court Building on Siaka Steven Street, Chief Justice Abdulai Hamid Charm remarked that the late Retired Honourable Justice Edmond Cowan was a pillar of support for everybody in the judiciary as he was always ready to proffer advise on legal issues as and when approached.
He said the respected jurist, who went on to serve as Speaker of Parliament and Ombudsman, was a father figure to many lawyers in the country and was someone who stood for truth, adding that he was an independent man in the adjudication of matters.
A host of judges and lawyers eulogised the retired judge, while thanking God for the opportunity accorded him to serve his country and mankind for decades. They spoke gloriously about his contributions to the judiciary, spanning decades.
Justice Musu Kamara lauded Justice Cowan’s firm belief in justice and revealed that the latter contributed to her career growth by encouraging her to stay in the judiciary while serving as Deputy Master and Registrar, at a time when times were not rosy.
Solicitor-General Ms. Salamatu Koroma recalled that when she joined the Law Officers’ Department in 1989, she benefitted immensely from opinions and files that Justice Cowan (then State Counsel) had been handled before he left for the Sierra Leone Produce Marketing Board (SLPMB).
She said his passing was a big loss to the nation as the late man was convivial and frank with everyone, adding that he willingly proffered legal opinions and general advices to anyone who approached him.
Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards described him as a forthright man who justly arbitrated a tribunal set up to investigate him few years ago.
Justice Alusine Sesay, while fighting back tears, said the late respected jurist was a father figure to him and a good neighbour.
Also, president of the Bar Association, Rhoda Nuni, raved about the retired Judge of the Appellate Court, whom she said attended the Bar dinner last year and even helped present some raffle prizes.
It could be recalled that the 80-year-old retired Honourable Justice Edmond Cowan passed away on Wednesday, January 24.
He was until mid-2017 Ombudsman of Sierra Leone. He also chaired the 80-man Constitutional Review Committee tasked with reviewing the 1991 Constitution. The erstwhile appellate court judge was Sierra Leone’s Speaker of Parliament from 2001 to 2007, and acted as president on a number of occasions.
Justice Cowan served as legal practitioner, jurist and lawmaker for over 45 years. He worked as Principal State Council at the Law Officers Department prior to becoming a Judge. Before then, he had served as private legal practitioner for over nine years. He was Legal Adviser/Secretary at the Sierra Leone Produce Marketing Board (SLPMB) from 1981 to 1989.
In 2017 in particular, the respected jurist displayed tremendous courage even in the face of calumny and vitriol to defend the draft report that his 80-man committee had put together.
Meanwhile, family sources have intimated that the legal doyen would be given a state burial on Friday, 9 February, following a laying-out at the House of Parliament. On Thursday evening, a state vigil will be organised in his honour at Miatta Conference Hall in Freetown.