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NEWS : Local News  

In Sierra Leone, Retired Freetown Judge Recalls Old Days
By Augustine Samba
Mar 3, 2009, 17:30
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One of Sierra Leone giant legal practitioners and retired Appeals Court Judge, Hon. Justice Cornelius Harding has yesterday 2nd March 2009 poured libation at the turning of the sod (soil) for the proposed brand new Magistrates Court which will be situated next to the Pademba Road Prisons when completed. In his statement, Justice Harding recalled back in 1958 when he was in the midst of just over 30 practitioners at such a ceremony. He said back then the practice of Law was supervised by the government of the United Kingdom and that legal practitioners of those days were very dedicated and hardworking and put justice before everything else. Shortly before pouring the libation with a bottle of Captain Morgan rum and ice cold water as tradition demanded, Justice Harding made a statement of gratitude to "all great men who have practiced Law in the country but are no longer alive". He asked all present to offer prayers for them to have everlasting peace.

Justice Cornelius Harding pours Libation as Master Bailor looks on

"On behalf of the lost dedicated men and those presently serving in the field of law, I pour this libation," the retired Judge said.

Also making statements at the short but impressive ceremony were the Hon Chief Justice, the Attorney General/Justice Minister Abdul Serry Kamal and other partners.

It will be recalled that much of the Government infrastructure and equipment within the justice sector was destroyed or in deplorable state during the ten-year rebel war in the country and little or no maintenance is ongoing. The UK sponsored Justice Sector Development Programme provides access to justice for the poor by addressing prioritised Government infrastructure and equipment needs in the justice sector; and has therefore taken on the construction of this proposed Magistrate Court in the Western Area of Freetown.

Upon completion, the new Pademba Road Magistrate Court will reduce the cost in transporting prisoners to and from court, which would contribute to speedy trial, leading to strengthened rule of law and overall improvement in the justice system. Work on the construction is scheduled to be completed by September this year and would include Juvenile Courts, with electrical, water and sanitation systems installed. Maintenance is a key issue in infrastructure; therefore, a system will also be put in place to ensure that the building and equipment provided, undergo regular maintenance.


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