Justice Samuel Ademusu has in his keynote address at the annual conference of the Sierra Leone Bar Association under the theme “Modernization of our Robust Laws” at the Miatta conference hall in Freetown said that Lawyers delay justice in court.
He long standing High Court Judge added that Magistrates hold on to cases too much as a result of ready-made adjournments made by Lawyers. He added that sometimes when accused come to court Lawyers are not there which leads to delay in justice.
Justice Ademusu said that litigants are clients to the court and always complain to the court for the delay of their cases, stating that litigants must have a fair trial in court.
The Judge admonished Magistrates to fast track cases in court and that backlog cases that are delayed in court should not be done so.
He urged that cases should be fast tracked in court and cases should be committed early to the High Court.
Justice Ademusu revealed that the Law Reform Commission has been in existence since the 70s.He opined that if the Laws are robust every Judge, Magistrates and Lawyers must be independent in their judgment.
The Associations President Crispin Edwards in his statement said that, it is regrettable to note that whilst a great deal of reform has swept across other jurisdictions with reasonable promptitude and responsiveness, “ours is snail-paced, which is attributable to certain factors, which is presumed may be obvious both to us as legal practitioners and respective stakeholders.”
He added that, “it is borne out of the need to synchronize our values and instruments with acceptable international legal standards, without unwarrantedly compromising or jeopardizing our national interest.”
Mr. Edwards disclosed that under his presidency, four important committees of the Bar were set up namely: the Rule of Law and Human Rights Committee, the Public Interest Committee, Law Reporting Committee and Dinner and Social Committee.
The President opined that, these committees provided the machinery of operations of the Bar.
He revealed that owing to the dire need for provision of Legal Services to indigent persons and other vulnerable groups, a proposal for the provision of a legal aid scheme was forwarded by the Rule of Law and Human Rights Committee to the UNDP country office.
The Bar Association President stated that “I am proud to say that funding by UNDP of a nationwide free legal aid service is being finalized”, hoping that this legal aid project will be sustained upon its commencement, and will certainly constitute an integral facet of their corporate responsibility.
Mr. Edwards said he assumed the mantle of leadership at a time when very senior practitioners were concerned about the breakdown of certain key services.
One he said is the Robing Room which used to be very useful for dressing and interaction purposes, adding that when he took over that facility was non-functional.
Smiling the Bar Association President said that he is pleased to report that the Robing Room is almost a state-of-the-art facility having a satellite television, where members can now relax after very hectic proceedings in court.
The Bar he said has been very cautious in its community relations, further stating that, there is the need to cultivate closer community relations and in that regard, “we hope to organize frequent public programmes involving relevant partners and stakeholders.”
In an interview with a Lawyer who preferred anonymity, he said that it is true that Lawyers delay cases in court.
He explained that Lawyers have plenty of cases to deal with in a day and when they are in another court sitting on another case the other case is called in the other courts which leads to adjournment and it hinders Justice.
By Abibatu Kamara