October 23, 2015 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Lawyers Ivan Sesay, Cheryl Blake and Nicky Spencer-Coker, representing the Legal Aid Board Sierra Leone, have aided the release of ten persons, including three juveniles, who were standing trial on various charges in the Magistrate Court and the High Court.
The Legal Aid Board was established in 2012 to render free legal services to indigent persons in search of justice.
The freed inmates include, Alpha Bah, Foday Kamara, Musa Kamara, Abdulai Kamara, Alimamy Kandeh Bangura, Molai Kamara, Tamba Bockarie, Abdul Rahaman Kamara, Mohamed Sahid Kamara and Santigie Conteh.
Speaking yesterday at their Lamina-Sankoh Street offices, Executive Director Mrs. Claire Carlton-Hanciles said the Board was committed to promoting justice in the country by providing free legal aid to inmates who are standing trial in court and cannot afford to hire lawyers to represent them.
Madam Calrton-Hanciles, who is herself a lawyer, said their mandate includes to provide free legal aid to the less-privileged and disadvantaged, and that they would help persons in need of legal assistance in fulfillment of that strategic mandate.
She said the mandate of Legal Aid Board is to provide, administer, coordinate and monitor the provision of legal aid in civil and criminal matters, adding that their vision is to create a networking and collaborative organisation that is flexible and responsive to eligible low-income individuals and groups in the country as legal aid is a pivotal element of a fair, humane and efficient criminal justice system that is based on the rule of law.
“The international law and standards were clear on the fact that the states should ensure a comprehensive legal aid system that is accessible, effective, sustainable and credible so that justice is accessed by all,” she said.
Alpha Bah, one of the freed inmates, thanked the Legal Aid Board for proving them with free representation in court, noting that he had learned valuable lessons during his thirteen months at the Male Correctional Centre.
He promised to never commit a crime that could lead him to jail and also called on his age mates to keep away from crime as his experience at the Male Correctional Centre was not a pleasant one.
The Legal Aid Board is an independent, non-profit organisation which was established in May 2012 pursuant to the Legal Aid Act. The mandate of the Board is to provide, administer, coordinate and monitor the provision of legal aid in civil and criminal matters involving indigent persons.