December 21, 2017 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Executive Director of Legal Aid Board Sierra Leone, Madam Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles, has disclosed that just in 2017 they provided legal representation for 14,715 clients nationwide.
Mrs. Carlton-Hanciles made the disclosure yesterday at their Lamina Sankoh Street headquarters, during their end of year presser, where she re-affirmed their commitment to defending the rights of the poor and needy and that their quest was to provide justice in the country.
She revealed that among the 14,715 clients, some 11,380 were adult males, 1,343 were female adults, 1,705 were male juveniles and 287 were female juveniles.
She also stated that 55,000 clients received legal advice from the Board and 41,592 matters were adjudicated by alternative dispute resolution.
She further revealed that over 26,746 people received legal education in person at their offices and in communities around the country.
The Board’s Executive Director told newsmen that a total of 83,053 people benefited from services provided by them in 2017, while between their inception in September 2015 and 11th December 2017, a total of 107,821 people benefited from their services.
“The Board wishes to call on all Sierra Leoneans and foreign nationals resident in Sierra Leone to continue to respect the rule of law. We must respect the rights of citizens and migrants alike, persons with disability, women and children and anyone else at risk of discrimination or violence,” she said.
She emphasised that the Sierra Leonean public should respect the rights of others during the festive season and individuals avoid committing offences that could send them to jail, thus calling on everyone to be law abiding, peaceful and security conscious as elections are approaching.
She noted that the Board would not provide legal representation to anyone who deliberately breaks the law during the festive season and during the electioneering period.
The Legal Aid Board was established by an Act of Parliament in 2012 with the aim of providing free legal service to indigent clients who cannot afford to hire the a lawyer to represent them in court.
The establishment of the Legal Aid Board was as a result of a recommendation of the Truth and Reconciliation Report (TRC) that, injustice to the poor was one of the causes of the eleven years war in the country which claimed the lives of thousands and destroyed millions of properties.