Published On: Mon, Jul 23rd, 2012

“The government should expedite the establishment and operation of a National Legal Aid Board”-Sierra Leone Bar Association

 

By:  Poindexter Sama

Membership of the Sierra Leone Bar Association in their last Annual General Meeting held at the Hill Valley Hotel has resolved, among other things, that government should expedite the establishment and operation of a National Legal Aid Board.

Blyden Jenkins-Johnston (President of The  Sierra Leone Bar Association, 2012)

Blyden Jenkins-Johnston (President of The Sierra Leone Bar Association, 2012)

This, according to the legal lawyers’ body should be made up of legal luminaries, with the main aim to address the long-standing problem of citizens, especially the poor, who cannot afford the service of a lawyer to represent them in court in the event the law catches up with them.

Noting that the issue is “a paramount concern” Executives of the Bar, have on several occasions condemned the delay in delivering justice in the country; a situation that is believed to be characteristic of the country’s judicial system and pointed it out as the main reason for citizens not having access to justice in most cases.

Quite recently, upon his election as President of the Sierra Leone Bar Association, Blyden Jenkins-Johnston has equally encouraged lawyers to offer pro-bono services to prisoners and other citizens who are in conflict with the law as a way of helping to minimize unfair delivery of justice.

In a separate resolution, the Bar has also appreciated and recognized the passing of the Public Elections Acts of 2012 by the government, noting it as “an important milestone” in the consolidation of the country’s electoral laws to ensure free and fair elections.

The Bar therefore submitted its willingness to participate in the current electoral processes including, but not limited to observing and monitoring the November elections.

Moreover, the Bar, in the same vein, utterly condemned the spate of violence in previous elections, political processes and others, and encourages members of the populace to eschew any form of violence ahead of the November polls.