cSierra Leone: The process to review the Criminal Procedure Act has started with the nomination of the Chairman of the Criminal Procedure Act Review Committee.
Supreme Court Judge, Justice Nicolas Browne-Marke, has been nominated by the Chief Justice of the Judiciary of Sierra Leone Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards to head the Committee since he had been involved in the review process from its inception in 2010.
In his statement during the meeting facilitated by the Justice Sector Coordinating Office (JSCO) at the Special Court Building in Freetown, Justice Browne-Marke lauded the efforts of the JSCO for facilitating the review of the Criminal Procedure Bill.
Identifying the thematic areas, the Committee should focus on, Hon. Justice Browne-Marke drew the committee’s attention to how prosecutions are brought in the Courts, who can bring prosecutions in the Courts, how trials are to proceed, what new forms of technology should be allowed in Court proceedings, among others.
He also highlighted issues surrounding Jury trials and how to retain it in its current format or modify it and on Sentencing Guidelines.
According to the Coordinator of the JSCO, Shahid M. Korjie, a 2009 policy brief by the Institute for Security Studies painted a grim picture of Sierra Leone’s criminal justice system.
He underscored that the two key recommendations proffered by the ISS policy brief included the need to increase public funding to the sector and review of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1965.
“Over the years, several steps have been taken aimed at enacting the Criminal Procedure Bill, but the process has been characterized by protracted delays even as the country’s criminal justice system needs significant reforms,” he stated.
The Review Committee comprised representatives of the Judiciary, the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, the Law Reform Commission, the Independent Police Complaints Board, the Sierra Leone Correctional Service, the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone, the Sierra Leone Bar Association amongst others.
As the retreat for the final review will take place on 24th to 26th June 2021.
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