‘LAB will not defend any criminal during the festive season’


December 21, 2016 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

Executive Director of the Legal Aid Board of Sierra Leone, Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles, has called on every Sierra Leonean to always respect the rights of others, especially during the festive season, adding that the Board would not provide counsel to represent people in court who deliberately break the laws.

Madam Carlton-Hanciles was speaking at a presser yesterday at their Guma Building Office on  Lamina Sankoh Street, where she thanked the press for the continuous coverage of the Board’s activities  and helping to promote justice in the country.

She said the Legal Aid Board has statutory mandate to offer free legal services to indigent Sierra Leoneans, although matters of different nature that needed their attention have been handled.

She disclosed that the Board has opened offices in several locations nationwide including Freetown, Bo, Kenema, Makeni, Port Loko, Moyamba and Kono and that they have full-time lawyers servicing the poor for the first time in the history of Sierra Leone although they are still grappling with lots of challenges.

She re-affirmed their commitment to stand up for the rights of citizens and that in its pursuit to provide justice in Sierra Leone the Board has also been able to achieve a lot.

She told journalists that from 1st September, 2015 and 30th November, 2016 there were 3,578 males on trial in the High Court, while 377 were awaiting indictment.

She further disclosed that 809 accused persons appeared in the Magistrates’ Court during that period, while 37 male clients had their matters committed to the High Court, and 32 matters were at the police stations for resolution.

She also disclosed that some 249 females were on trial at the High Court, with 15 awaiting indictment, 351 appearing in the Magistrates’ Court, while 20 matters are due for resolution at Police Stations.

She continued that there were 231 juvenile matters at the Juvenile Court, 10 awaiting indictment and eight due for resolution at Police Stations.

“The Legal Aid Board wishes to call on all Sierra Leoneans and foreign national residents in Sierra Leone to step forward and respect the rights of both citizens and migrants alike, persons with disabilities, women and children and anyone else at risk of discrimination or violence,” she urged.