Court Update Legal Aid Board Offers Legal Representation for 61 out of 67 Accused Persons

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As from the 16th to 18th May 2022 Criminal Sessions of the High Court, the Legal Aid Board represented 61 of the 67 accused persons arraigned before Justice Nicolas Browne-Marke (JSC) in Freetown. Six other accused persons were represented by Private Counsels.

The accused were arraigned on multiple charges ranging from Conspiracy to Defraud to Murder, Larceny in a Dwelling House, Wounding with Intent, Robbery, Robbery with Aggravation, Assault with Intent to Rob, Shop Breaking and Larceny, Larceny from a Person and Fraudulent Conversion.

The Legal Aid Counsels secured bail for 13 accused persons while 27 had their bail applications denied,1 was discharged, 17 pleaded guilty and sentenced to various prison terms including time served, 3 were cautioned and discharged. The three included one Thomas Corker and Christopher Washington who pleaded guilty to the offence of conspiracy and larceny by servant of one of the Justices of the Superior Court of Judicature.

Speaking to the newly released clients at the Legal Aid Board Head Office in Freetown prior to their return to mainstream society, the Executive Director of Legal Aid Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles stressed they still have a bright future.

“Some of our clients have returned to society after serving time in prison and have been able to rebuild lives on their own through hard work and honesty,” she said adding, “Some have come back to share their society stories with us and even presented gifts as a sign of appreciation.”

Ms. Carlton-Hanciles told them to strive to be good citizens. She explained the rights, duties, responsibilities and obligations of a good citizen and admonished them to use the justice system to seeking redress.

“You have nothing to gain by taking the law into your hands and most importantly do not expect to be accorded legal services instantly because you will be way down in the queue; we have thousands around the country waiting to receive our services in the formal, traditional courts and police stations,” she stressed.

Two clients – Foday Fofanah and Moisia Gondor – recalled how difficult life had been during remand adding that for almost eleven months they had not been able to see their wives and children.

Another two, Isatu Koroma alias Gaza and Isatu Fornah who were charged with Wounding with Intent and Child Stealing respectively, expressed gratitude to the Board. The two were placed on self-bail.

The accused persons were represented by Legal Aid Counsels: Cecilia Tucker; Morrison Karimu; Ibrahim Bangura; C. Taylor-Younge and Komba Kanu.

In another development, the Board on the 19th May 2022 secured the discharge of one Issa Kargbo who was standing trial on a charge of Sexual Penetration.

Kargbo was discharged by Justice Komba Kamanda (JA) for want of prosecution after spending approximately four years on remand. He was represented by Legal Aid Counsel, Harold Momoh.

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