October 14, 2015
The Sierra Leone Legal Aid Board on Monday October 12 assigned accused persons on remand to twenty-four lawyers. The Chair of the Legal Aid Board, Justice Adeliza Showers, President of the Sierra Leone Bar Association, Ibrahim Sorie and Team Leader for Access to Security and Justice Program (ASJP), Chris Walker and other guests will converge on the Archbishop Brosnahan Memorial Hall, Santanno House on Howe Street at 2pm for the landmark ceremony.
Today’s ceremony follows the training of the lawyers in September 2015 meant to equip them with basic skills and techniques before being assigned indigent clients by the Legal Aid Board. Prior to the training, the Legal Aid Board and the Sierra Leone Bar Association had signed a partnership agreement to provide Lawyers that will offer legal service for a token fee.
The Executive Director of Legal Aid Board, Ms. Claire Carlton-Hanciles, said the ceremony marks a giant step in achieving the mandate of her organization.
“Ten thousand poor people will benefit from free legal services provided by the Legal Aid Board next year. Our in-house lawyers cannot handle all of these cases, so we will have to assign many to outside lawyers,” she said. “We are grateful the leadership of the Sierra Leone Bar Association is keen to provide the necessary support.”
Ms. Carlton-Hanciles was however quick to sound a note of caution. She noted that the Government which is the main financier of the scheme will provide funds to cover two thousand five hundred (2,500) cases only, so the additional funds have to come from elsewhere.
“We will need donors to step in and fill the funding gap,” she appealed.