September 9, 2016 By Joseph S. Margai
Access to Justice Law Centre (AJLC), a free legal service provider to poor people in the northern region of Sierra Leone, has assisted one Emma Abu Turay to reclaim her daughter, who was forcefully taken away from her by her husband.
The re-unification of Emma Abu Turay with her daughter was done recently at the High Court in Makeni after AJLC won an appeal against a ruling of the Tonkolili Magistrates’ Court.
According to the Director of AJLC ,Lawyer Chernor M.B Jalloh, in January this year, his organization received complaint from Emma Abu Turay, a resident of Makeni that she was married to one Abu Bakarr Kalokoh, who was residing in Magburaka.
“She claimed that in 2013, the said husband returned her and her seven years old daughter to her parent. She also claimed that her daughter was forcefully taken away from her by a Social Welfare officer in Magburaka without court order,” he explained.
Lawyer Jalloh disclosed that Emma sought a redress with his organization and that they provided legal representation for her at the Tonkolili Magistrates’ court.
He noted that Emma was dissatisfied with the judgment of the Tonkolili Magistrates’ court ,hence later made an appeal to the Civil Appeals Division of the High Court in Makeni.
Explaining the grounds on which Emma and AJLC filed an appeal to the High Court in Makeni, Lawyer Jalloh said there were several grounds that that urged them to do so.
“One of the grounds of appeal was that the court itself was not properly constituted pursuant to section 76 of the Child Rights Act. This section states that if a family court is not properly constituted, there is no jurisdiction to grant the order of custody of the child to the father as against the will of the mother. The other ground was that, assuming but not conceding, for any reason that the court was properly constituted, the court itself did not follow the procedures as set out in section 81 of the Child Rights Act of 2007,” he said.
He said it was the right of the mother to be with her young child until the child becomes an adult. He thanked the judges for granting him the appeal which eventually led to the re-unification of the child with her mother.
Emma Abu Turay expressed joy over the judgement that made her re-unite with her child.
“I was discouraged but when I came to Lawyer Jalloh, he took up my case.I’ve won the case and my child would be returned to me,” she happily said.