GoodLawyerSierraLeone

In the News

 

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Wednesday, 18 January 2012

FIGHT AGAINST INJUSTICE IN THE JUSTICE SYSTEM OF GHANA‏

http://www.thepatrioticvanguard.com/spip.php?article6350
 

INTERESTING ARTICLE AND GOOD FOR GHANA!  UNFORTUNATELY THIS IS NOT UNIQUE TO GHANA.  SIERRA LEONE CAN DO WITH A SIMILAR CAMPAIGN.

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AWOKO

Wed November 30, 2011

 Female lawyer wins award for child defense

http://www.awoko.org/2011/11/30/female-lawyer-wins-award-for-child-defense/

It's not all doom and gloom - The Good Lawyer Scheme say, well done Lawyer Haffie Haffner and keep up the good work.

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Newstime Africahttp://www.newstimeafrica.com/archives/23352

 "The legal system in Sierra Leone has in the past being plagued by inept corruption and extortion, where despite the nature of a case, if money exchanged hands, a wrongful conviction is inevitable." 

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AWOKO

Wed July 6, 2011

DANGEROUS CRIMINAL ADRIAN FISHER PARTNERS WITH LEGAL GROUPS IN SIERRA LEONE

This report shows disgraced Magistrate Adrian Fisher, despite been caught and convicted of corruption, astonishingly, is still actively associated with the legal profession in Sierra Leone.        http://www.awoko.org/2011/07/05/validation-seminar-of-3-afrimap-reports-commence/

Not surprising that corruption in the Sierra Leone judiciary is still a growing problem and an ongoing battle for President Ernest Koroma to tackle.

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Concord Times (Freetown)

Sierra Leone: Indicted - Judiciary Tops Corrupt Institutions

Rachel Horner

5 April 2011 

http://allafrica.com/stories/201104070216.html 

  Freetown — The National Public Perception Survey report on corruption 2010 has revealed and identified the judiciary, executive and legislature as being responsible for failure in the fight against corruption in the country.

"A large segment (74.5%) of respondents identified the judiciary to be responsible for the failure of the war against corruption, the executive (58%) and parliament (57.1%)," the report states.

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26 December, 2010

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Subject: NYTimes.com: Cables Portray Expanded Reach of Drug Agency
SIERRA LEONE'S EX ATTORNEY GENERAL ALLEGEDLY DEMANDED LARGE BRIBES IN DRUGS CASE ACCORDING TO LEAKED CABLES!

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/26/world/26wikidrugs.html?_r=1&emc=eta1

 

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Awoko 11 June 2010

Black day for some Lawyers as…

Magistrate Fisher is Found Guilty of Corruption 

 http://awoko.org/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=8723&cntnt01returnid=15

There was a chilling moment of sadness in the High Court presided over by Justice Mary Sey yesterday when Magistrate Adrian Jocelyn Fisher was pronounced guilty on 20 count charges of misappropriation of public funds and sentenced to a 5 million Leones fine on each count or in default - five years imprisonment.  Justice Mary Sey sternly ordered that the fine be paid forthwith.

The Anti Corruption Commission had alleged that “Adrian Jocelyn Fisher a Presiding Magistrate at court No. 1 Bo, on a date unknown between 4th June and 30th June 2008, at Bo in the Southern Province of Sierra Leone in a matter listed as C/263/08, The Inspector General of Police Vs Augustine Cole, Sulaiman Barrie, Mohamed Sinneh Kargbo and Brima Sorie Sillah imposed a fine of Le250, 000.”

The indictment went on to state that Magistrate Fisher “misappropriated public funds, by willfully depriving the Government of Sierra Leone of the sum of Le.150, 000.00 out of the sum of Le 250,000 fine. 

Passing verdict, Justice Mary Sey said that having carefully considered all the witnesses tendered by the Prosecution and defence, “I believe the testimonies of the first, second and third Prosecution witnesses to be true.”

She went on “In my view, the Prosecution has laid sufficient evidence that the accused deprived the government of public funds”.   She ventured further that “considering the evidence both orally and verbally, I found the evidence so strong against the accused person” adding “As a Magistrate he was expected to uphold the dignity and lead by example”. 

Asked to respond before his sentence, Magistrate Fisher stood up in a down cast mood and thanked the court for their patience over his matter. He appealed to the court to take into consideration his age, young family, current medical status and the fact that he has two aged parents and that he is the only child to them. He told the court that they have already suffered in terms of medical health as a result of this case. 

Magistrate Fisher also stated: “All my adult life in the United Kingdom I was not convicted there. All I have to say is that I came to this country as a young man with my knowledge to work for my country. I plead for all I have done wrong”.  Backing his plea, one of his defence Lawyers Blyden Jenkins Johnston said: “I have never felt as sad as I do now in this court”.  He stated that the accused has addressed the court and I believe he has said all the things that need to be said.
Jenkins Johnston also stated “It is unfortunate that the matter has come to this point, we in the Defence have not been able to convince the courts in terms of various points raised in our defence”.
He asked the Judge not to impose custodial sentence on the accused person.

After listening to the pleas made by the accused and his Lawyer, Justice, Mary Sey said: “I hereby sentence you to 5 Million Leones on each of the 20 count charges to be paid forthwith. In default of this - 5 years imprisonment”.
His Lawyer again made an application under Section 233 of the Criminal Procedure Act asking the judge to consider the quantum of money alleged against the accused in the indictment.  He asked the court to consider the income of the accused while he was working as a Magistrate. The accused, he said needs time to raise that amount of money, adding that if she refused the application then the custodial sentence will be imposed.
The Judge refused the application and ordered that the money be paid forthwith.

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THE SIERRA LEONE NEWS Anti-Corruption Commission Falls on the Judiciary
Written by Silas Gbandia   
Wednesday, 10 June 2009 13:31

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has fallen heavily on members of the judiciary an organ of government often referred to as the most corrupt institution in Sierra Leone. The former Ombudsman Lawyer Francis Gabbidon was sentenced to five years imprisonment or pay Le.118 million as he was found guilty of 168 counts.

 Appearing on Tuesday before the Gambian born High Court Judge Justice Mary Sey, she found Francis Gabbidon guilty of all counts (168) the ACC alleged he committed and sentenced him to 5 years imprisonment or alternatively pay Le. 49,200,000. In addition to this, he was ordered to pay restitution fine of Le. 68,893,310 within fourteen days which would serve as a refund of the money he misappropriated.

 The ACC roped Lawyer Gabbidon to court for allegedly misappropriating about Le. 70 million while serving as Ombudsman of the Republic of Sierra Leone- an office he held from 2000 until December 2007 following the change of government during the September 2007 elections.  

 Records of President Koroma’s Transition Team showed that Mr. Gabbidon’s report on his office had several flaws. The report stated that the Ombudsman office had regional offices in Bo, Kenema, Makeni and a head office in Freetown with each office having 4 staff members. The Staff list had names of prominent human rights lawyers in Sierra Leone but investigations proved that there were no regional offices and staff list did not exceed 3 including of the 16 he claimed to have nationally.

 Also, Justice Alan Holloway fell into the ACC net on Monday for allegedly receiving a bribe of Le. 500,000. The lady alleged to have given the bribe has her case in the court presided over by him. The matter is still being investigated.  

 Other judicial members who have fallen prey to ACC are Magistrate Adrian Fisher and Magistrate Beneh Kamara.

 The head of the ACC Abdul Tejan Cole vows to fight corruption and his commitment to it since his appointment won £.2 million support for the ACC from DFID.

 “He’s cleaning his backyard [the judiciary] mercilessly and would soon go out of there. Who else is safe?” a minister preferring anonymity states.

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An example of why this scheme is greatly needed - Share!  

The judiciary and the justice system in Sierra Leone are absolutely corrupt and hopeless and I would dare say the situation irreparable.

I have taken my time to express my thoughts on the perennial problem of Sierra Leone’s rogue judicial system and its impact on the Diasporas. I have had a personal experience of how rotten and corrupt the judiciary and law enforcement in Sierra Leone is.

Three year ago I hired a lawyer to reverse a case involving a family property which was leased to a fella without my knowledge or consent as a beneficiary. The so called head of the family, who arranged the scam with this fella, lied to the other family members that he had informed me and obtained my consent.

I only discovered the transaction when I went to Salone on one of my holidays. I decided to challenge the arrangement and hired a prominent lawyer in Freetown. I put an initial payment of 5 million Leones which I extracted from the spending money I took with me. I spent thousands of pounds in total including telephone bills and other incidental costs. The lawyer assured me that the issue will be settled in court as soon as possible. I sent emails upon emails including phone calls. Whenever I was able to reach him via mobile, the lawyer, name withheld, would assure me of something and promised to act and expedite the process. When I emailed him to scale dawn on the mounting telephone bills, he does not respond.

I cannot say I would question this lawyer’s personal integrity or that he may have been compromised because I do not have evidence to that effect. What I am clear about is that Sierra Leone judiciary and law enforcement agencies are in a complete mess and lacks complete ethical and professional discipline.

I got information about the fella’s activities from sources involved on the ground in Sierra Leone that he was bribing court officers, magistrate and police you name it. The fella was so confident he had the judiciary in his pocket that he failed to attend summon.

Now sir, listen to this. I was forced to indulge in something which I absolutely abhorred and would fight to eliminate it in Sierra Leone. I had to play the game according to Sierra Leone justice but even that has not settled the matter three years since. I sent money via western union to pay for the court to institute bench warrant against the fella for missing court hearing, and to imprison him for contempt of court. I paid the court clerk to arrange these with some money requested by him to share with the police who would conduct the arrest and take him in to police custody. In normal situation, I do not have to or need to do what I had to do. But the bottom line was that the court could not enforce its own laws or penalties without individual court officers taken bribes. Yet even that, there was no guarantee they would carry out what they had promised because they are open to bribes from the opponent, which is usually the case.

When the judge finally issued order to detain the fella for contempt of court, which was the proper thing to do, the guy commandeered the arresting police officers once out of the court building to go to his house where he bribed them with a million Leones for his release.

This information was supplied by a family member who was involved in the transaction and trailed the police van. Because I do not reside in Salone, I have given up on that case for now. God willing and let’s hope and pray there is a brighter future for Sierra Leone where sanity and justice may prevailed.

So when I tell you that the justice system and the judiciary are rotten to the core, I am speaking from real life experience.

Best Regards

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