SLPP demands judicial inquiry
November 21, 2017 By Memunatu Bangura & Yusufu S Bangura
Chairman and Leader of the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), Dr. Alex Prince Harding, yesterday demanded an immediate judicial inquiry into why the party’s Publicity Secretary, Lahai Lawrence Leema, was not in court last Friday.
Dr. Harding was addressing pressmen in front of the main Law Court building in Freetown after Leema was granted bail on his own recognizance by Magistrate Albert J. Moody.
He called on the country’s judiciary to inquire into why the entire court system was grounded to a halt last Friday by one prison officer, who unilaterally decided not take accused persons to court.
“We are happy on the surface that Leema has been granted bail, but we want the Judiciary to look into the reason why other accused persons, including Leema, were not brought to court last Friday. We want this inquiry done because we want to prevent such happening especially for lesser people who might act against the law,” said Dr. Harding.
According to him, the main opposition party is still unhappy even though their spokesman was granted bail, thus urging that the authorities concerned cancel the charges against him, describing them as “futile in terms of effectiveness and frivolous in terms of designs.”
He expressed dissatisfaction over justice administration in the country following the incarceration of their spokesman at the maximum prison for more than a week for what he referred to as ‘minor’ offences, adding that people of such statue should not be treated in such manner.
Dr. Harding also maintained that Leema’s human right was grossly violated, adding that the episode last Friday was a sad day for democracy and an individual who has done nothing wrong to be incarcerated.
According to police prosecutor Assistant Superintendent of Police Samuel Kamara, Leema assaulted Franklyn Rogers, Gerald Sesay and Joseph Kowa at the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) newsroom, contrary to the Public Order Act 1965.
They also alleged that the youthful publicity secretary behaved in a disorderly manner at the SLBC, used threatening language against Joseph Kowa and unlawfully entered the SLBC newsroom without due process.
However, although the accused had been refused bail on his maiden court appearance and correctional centre officers bizarrely failed to bring him to court last Friday, Magistrate Moody this time around granted him bail on his own recognizance.
The principal magistrate said: “I will not proceed with this matter today because I don’t have the necessary energy it takes to proceed,” adding that the matter had generated a lot of tension.
The matter was adjourned to Wednesday, 29 November for further hearing.