From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, Judiciary honours Justice Golley & Lawyer Massaquoi
Dec 17, 2009, 17:30

The Sierra Leone Judiciary has yesterday Wednesday December 16th 2009, held a Tribute at the Law Courts Building in memory of two recently deceased lawyers, Hon. Justice Omrie Michael Golley Snr. who passed away in November and Lawyer M.A. Luseni Massaquoi who passed away in September this year.

The tribute to Golley on behalf of the Judiciary was rendered by Hon. Justice Tolla Thompson whilst that for Massaquoi was done by Hon. Ademusu. For the Law Officers’ Department, Lawyer Gerald Soyei rendered the tribute for the two deceased gentlemen whilst Lawyers N.D. Tejan-Cole and D.B. Quee rendered the tribute on behalf of the Bar Association for Justice Golley and Lawyer Massaquoi respectively.


The late 82 year old Hon. Justice Omrie Michael Golley was variously described in glowing terms from his days as a schoolboy when he excelled in Latin, English and in the art of Debating. He was also said to be a regular table tennis, football and cricket player. Upon finishing school, he worked at the Accountant General’s Office before he proceeded to the United Kingdom where he was to study Law. He returned home in 1963 and was made Deputy Master & Registrar of the High Court. When Sierra Leone became a Republic in 1971, he became the first Registrar of the Superior Court of Judicature.

Hon. Justice Golley in his later years

"He was an enigma to many. Some saw him as kind, approachable and charitable whilst others saw him as an aloof, intolerant man who did not suffer fools gladly," said Hon. Tolla-Thompson.

Justice Golley was also said to dote on wife, Minette & their four children, Omrie jnr, Jerome, Sando and Jennifer.

"He would always find a way to say something about his family," he said.

According to Lawyer N.D. Tejan-Cole, not only was Justice Golley doting on his family but he was a splendid sight to behold in his Judicial Robes and during his time as Master, he "brought sanity into the Judiciary".

A Young Justice Golley in his Robes

His habitual emulation of British aristocracy was reportedly legendary and it was revealed that he eventually resided in the famed British aristocratic royalty suburb of Windsor where he lived till he passed away last month.

"He was soft-spoken, well-principled, the perfect gentleman who was always impeccably dressed whether he was on official or casual functions. His standards set are ones that I would urge us all at the Bar to emulate. During the time of Omrie Michael Golley as Master & Registrar of the High Court, the Master’s office was a decent place to go. You could be sure you would receive information as early as possible when requested," Lawyer N.D. Tejan-Cole loftily sang the virtues of the late man.

Tejan-Cole however lamented that "for a considerable time now", the likes of Justice Golley’s principled handling of matters concerning the Judiciary had not been seen in Sierra Leone.

Tejan-Cole also revealed how it was the intervention of the late man which helped Tejan-Cole succeed to get Minority Views of the Appeals Court to be registered as dictated by the Rules of Court and practised to this day.

It was also revealed that the late Golley once served as President of the Freetown Golf Club for many years and a devout Catholic of the Sacred Heart cathedral and Sat Luke’s Garrison. He was also the first Editor-in-Chief of the Sierra Leone Law Reports.

The late Justice Omrie Michael Golley was born in 1927. He died on 11 November 2009 and was buried in England on 23rd November 2009.


The late 70 year old was described in glowing terms as a very practical man but also highly religious Muslim whose respect for his fellow man was well recounted. He was born of the famous Massaquoi Ruling House of Pujehun at Fairo. Following his schooling at Bo School, he did his 6th Form at Albert Academy from where he proceeded to Ghana & Nigeria for tertiary education and later to UK to study Law. He was called to the Bar in 1977 and practised in London before returning home in 1979 to set up his Law Chambers.

Lawyer Luseni Massaquoi

According to Hon. Justice Ademusu, the late Lawyer Luseni Massaquoi was "one of the few legal practitioners who were always courteous to the Bench". He described him as a "well respected colleague who was soft-spoken". He was said to display no arrogance but always humility even during his term as elected Parliamentarian for Pujehun which was probably why ladies were said to have a penchant for him.

Justice Ademusu lamented the loss of colleagues but quoted that even in the midst of life, there is death.

For his part, Lawyer Gerald Soyei revealed that he accepted in good faith, the apt description of him by the late man as a cheeky upstart. He quoted the regular apt descriptions of him by the late man to be "Fityai Borbor", "Small Boy" & "Rascal". He revealed that the only reason why he did not join the private chambers of the late man was because he wanted to remain at Law Officers as a Government lawyer.

For Lawyer D.B. Quee, the death of Lawyer Luseni Massaquoi was a big blow as he opined the justice sector had "lost a unique man" and he personally had "lost a friend and brother".

The late Lawyer Luseni Massaquoi was born on 26th September 1939. He died on 13th September 2009.


Both the Golley and Massaquoi families spoke to Awareness Times yesterday during which they expressed sincere appreciations to the Honourable Chief Justice Umu-Hawa Tejan-Jalloh for her decision to host such a remarkable & successful Tribute. The photographs on this page were provided by the two families.

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