Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – Under the auspices of Justice Amy Wright, the Judiciary of Sierra Leone has commenced a new series of Criminal Sessions at the High Court. The proceedings, commonly known as ‘Call Over,’ involve approximately 50 criminal cases, marking the opening of the January 2024 High Court Criminal calendar.
The purpose of this session is for the Presiding Judge to take the pleas of all accused persons committed for trial by Magistrates’ Courts and those whose indictments were preferred with the written consent of a Judge. In cases where an accused person pleads guilty to any offence, the Presiding Judge is entitled to proceed to sentencing. For not guilty pleas, the Presiding Judge adjourns the trial to a specific date when the case will come up before a designated Judge.
A total of 71 accused individuals are before the court facing various criminal charges, including murder, manslaughter, conspiracy, robbery with aggravation, larceny, house and office breaking, fraudulent conversion, wounding with intent, and unlawful possession of drugs, among other offenses.
Records indicate that eleven (11) cases involving 16 accused individuals were indicted for unlawful possession of drugs, ranking it as the predominant offence for this session. Additionally, 39 other files with fifty-five accused persons have been indicted, including cases of fraudulent conversion, larceny (9), murder (1), and none for sexual penetration.
Two accused individuals, Idrissa Kamara and Mohamed Kamara, facing charges of house breaking and larceny, pleaded guilty. Their files have been reserved for recording and subsequent sentencing.
The Criminal Session, held four times a year, provides an opportunity for accused persons whose cases have been committed to the High Court through an indictment to have their day in court. MJB/31/1/2024