Fifty two Justices of the Peace (JP) were on Friday sworn in by President Koroma at State House.
The President congratulated the JPs and urged them to work in the interest of the people and to see themselves as part of the change in the country. He told them that some will be signing documents while others would serve as magistrates for which they should do so in the interest of the country.
Before being sworn in as one of the JPs, Alhaji Unisa Alim Sesay told Awoko that he thanks the President for recognizing him as somebody worthy to be appointed as a JP. He said he had been a Commissioner for Oaths for the past twenty years which he said had a thin line between a Justice of Peace and a Commissioner for Oath.
Alhaji Sesay maintained that a JP literally meant a lay magistrate that can sign warrants and for the Commissioner for Oaths he was responsible to sign declarations – both of whom are appointed under the court Acts. “That means that any declaration sworn before a Commissioner for Oath is like taking an oath before a High Court Judge whilst a JP is a lay magistrate who presides over cases whenever he is appointed by the Chief Justice or somebody like the master to act as a chief justice for a particular case”
Being the Chairman for the rent Assessment Committee for the East Ward, Alhaji Unisa Alim Sesay said he had served the function as a JP or something similar to that presiding over cases of rent dispute between land lords and tenants which he said he did for the last eighteen years. “Most of the powers I exercised were similar to that of the JP the only difference is that I was using those powers to ask for the issuance of processes”
By Ishmael Bayoh