August 25, 2020
By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Justice Suliaman Bah has ordered the management of the Sierra Leone Correctional Service to conduct a census and submit list of all inmates currently held in their facilities without warrant to appear in court for trial.
“I am ordering you to conduct a kind of mini census and give me a list of all inmates in your custody without warrant so that I can discuss it with the Chief Justice,” he said.
Justice Bah, who is one of the presiding judges at the newly established Sexual Offences Model Court in Freetown , made the order yesterday, Monday, August 24th, when he noticed that some of the accused persons in the matter he was presiding, were absent in court due to lack of warrant.
According to the judge, he cannot issue a production order for those absentee accused persons to be brought to court, when in fact he does not know as to whether they were in the custody at the Correctional Centres.
According to Mohamed Alpha Barrie, the Correctional Centre Clerk, some of the accused were not taken to court because they hadn’t any warrant, adding that he too cannot confirm to the court that they have those accused in their custody, unless he cross check.
President Julius Maada Bio on Friday July 24th launched the first Sexual Offences Model Court for rape proceedings. The special court is part of the diverse approaches the government is employing to fight Gender Based Sexual Violence with emphasis on sexual penetration and rape.