By Ibrahim Kabba Turay
I should be honest with you that the Judiciary has transformed itself, it has redeemed its name and the image,” remarked seasoned Lawyer Francis Gabbidon, but noted that the Judges need to do more in dealing with cases as quickly as possible.
The Judiciary is one of the three arms of government that is charged with the responsibility of interpreting the law.
What happened? After assuming office in 2018, President Bio appointed Justice Babatunde Edwards as the Chief Justice of Sierra Leone.
Under his leadership, Justice Babatunde has undertaken some physical and other reforms in terms of the delivery of justice to all and sundry.
In order to get the actual picture of what the judiciary has been like over the past five years, Concord Times conducted an exclusive interview with seasoned Lawyer, Francis Gabbaidon.
What Gabbidon says? As one of the oldest lawyers in the country with over 30 years’ experience, Lawyer Gabbidon who is also a consultant at the Legal Aid Board, explained the successes, challenges and the way forward in the development of judiciary of the country.
According to Lawyer Gabbidon, Justice Edwards has done significantly well in the area of physical reforms, pointing out the distinct separation of the High Court from the Magistrate Courts leading to the transfer of all Magistrate Courts to Pademba Road.
“This ongoing decentralization process of the justice system has been seen by many to have brought sanity to the court system, especially the main Law Courts Building on Siaka Steven Street in Freetown, which hosts the High Courts,” he observed.
He cited the renovation of the High Court in recent times after being abandoned for years, with some rooms already been transformed into courtrooms while some are used for other official purposes.
Having been a consultancy at the Legal Aid Board for over five years, Francis Gabbidon said he was able to travel all over the country to look at the courts that the Chief Justice has set up in places where there has never been courts to try cases.
Lawyer Gabiddon believes that there is more to be done in making the Judiciary effective in serving as the conduit of justice to encourage more investors come to establish businesses in the country.
He said although things are very difficult with some judges not having official vehicles and large area of the country not having court sittings, but that things are much better as compared to previous years.
Lawyer Gabiddon also expressed the need to recruit more judges and magistrates in order to expand access to justice for all and sundry.
He said what was in Sierra Leone when he came in 1972 as a lawyer has changed significantly, expressing hope for improvement of the judiciary.