Bench warrant for 97 jurors

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Justice Alusine Sesay of the Supreme Court

By Yusufu S. Bangura

On Tuesday 19th September, 2022, during the September High Court Criminal Session, Justice Alusine Sesay, a judge from the Supreme Court, had ordered bench warrant for ninety-seven (97) out of 215  jurors that were absent in court.

He made the order while presiding over the call-over of newly presented criminal indictment cases.

At every opening of the criminal session, jurors will be summoned and assigned to preside over various capital offences like murder, robbery with aggravation, among others.

The September criminal session opened its doors to a total of forty-three (43) cases that were transferred from the Magistrates Court for fair trial in the High Court. The cases were subsequently assigned to various judges for trial.

Out of the 43 cases committed to the High Court for the September criminal session, sexual penetration tops the list with 10 cases, followed by house breaking and larceny, robbery with aggravation, conspiracy, among others.

During the proceeding, Justice Sesay admonished the juries that were present to always cooperate with the court, noting that he was aware about their constraints, but that they have to cooperate because they are performing a civic duty, which is to serve the nation by giving justice to those who deserve it.

Justice Sesay noted that there is no law in the constitution that mandates any employer to withdraw or call jurors from court proceedings because once they have been assigned to the court, there is no need to recall them.

He cautioned employers to stop recalling jurors from the court to their offices.

“In that light, I am kindly pleading to all jurors to always cooperate with the court. I want to assure you that the judiciary will address your concerns. For those who are not here today, I ordered bench warrant for them because they must come here and perform their rightful duties. I further order that the 97 absent jurors must be brought to the court on Friday 22nd September 2023,” said Justice Sesay.

He went on to advise Correctional Service Officers to always bring prisoners to court on time, noting that the justice system must be changed because if prison officers fail to bring the accused persons to court on time there will be no speedy trial.

He therefore pleaded with them to always bring accused persons before the court on time for speedy trial.

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