January 30, 2015 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
At the January 2015 criminal session call-over this week at the High Court in Freetown,Judge Alusine Sesay issued a bench warrant for 73 out of 120 jurors penciled for juror service during the session.
The 73 were conspicuously absent at the call-over, thus prompting the judge to issue bench warrants for them to be brought to court on Monday, 9 February.
According to the judge, all 120 were duly notified about the call-over ceremony, which marks the start of the criminal session of the High Court, but to his utter surprise all but 47 jurors were present in court.
“All absent jurors have to give the court genuine reasons as to why they are absent, failing to do so I am going to remand them; perhaps that will send a strong massage that the court is not a playing ground,” he said.
He noted that when matters delay in court people cast blame on the judiciary, oblivious that there are other factors responsible for that, such as the absence of jurors. He added that jurors are selected in batches to determine the outcome of trials and that they need to turn up at all times because, if one of them is absent the matter cannot continue.
“I want to encourage all of the jurors that are in court today that your work is to help in the trial of certain matters like murder; so if you are selected to be part of any trial you have to make sure you are in court whenever that matter comes up for a speedy trial,” he admonished. “There are lots of matters in court that need speedy trial, always be in court and avoid embarrassment.”