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NOTICES & DOCUMENTS  

Arbitrary Detentions: What the Sierra Leone Constitution says
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Nov 11, 2009, 17:30
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THE CONSTITUTION OF SIERRA LEONE, 1991

(Act No. 6 of 1991)


CHAPTER III THE RECOGNITION AND PROTECTION OF FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS OF THE INDIVIDUAL

SECTION SEVENTEEN (17)
Protection from arbitrary arrest or detention.


17. (1) No person shall be deprived of his personal liberty except as may be authorised by law in any of the following cases, that is to say

a. in consequence of his unfitness to plead to a criminal charge; or

b. in the execution of a sentence or order of a Court whether in Sierra Leone or elsewhere in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been convicted; or

c. in the execution of an order of the High Court or the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court or such other court as may be prescribed by Parliament on the grounds of his contempt of any such court or of another court or tribunal or commission of inquiry as the case may be; or

d. in the execution of an Order of a court made in order to secure the fulfilment of any obligation imposed on him by law; or

e. for the purpose of bringing him before a court or tribunal, as the case may be, in execution of the order of a court; or

f. upon reasonable suspicion of his having committed or of being about to commit a criminal offence; or

g. in the case of a person who has not attained the age of twenty-one years, for the purpose of his education or welfare; or

h. for the purpose of preventing the spread of an infectious or contagious disease; or

i. in the case of a person who is, or is reasonably suspected to be, of unsound mind, addicted to drugs or alcohol, or a vagrant, for the purpose of his care or treatment or the protection of the community; or

j. for the purpose of preventing the unlawful entry of that person into Sierra Leone, or for the purpose of effecting the expulsion, extradition or other lawful removal of that person from Sierra Leone or the taking of proceedings thereto.

 

17. (2) Any person who

a. is arrested or detained shall be informed in writing or in a language that he understands at the time of his arrest, and in any event not later than twenty-four hours, of the facts and grounds for his arrest or detention;

b. is arrested or detained shall be informed immediately at the time of his arrest of his right of access to a legal practitioner or any person of his choice, and shall be permitted at his own expense to instruct without delay a legal practitioner of his own choice and to communicate with him confidentially.

 

17. (3) Any person who is arrested or detained in such a case as is mentioned in paragraph (e) or (f) of subsection (1) and who is not released shall be brought before a court of law

a. within ten days from the date of arrest in cases of capital offences, offences carrying life imprisonment and economic and environmental offences; and

b. within seventy-two hours of his arrest in case of other offences;

 

and if any person arrested or detained in such a case as is mentioned in the said paragraph (f) is not tried within the periods specified in paragraph (a) or (b) of this section, as the case may be, then without prejudice to any further proceedings which may be brought against him he shall be released either unconditionally or upon reasonable conditions, including in particular, such conditions as are reasonably necessary to ensure that he appears at a later date for trial or proceedings preliminary to trial.

 

17. (4) Any person who is unlawfully arrested or detained by any other person shall be entitled to compensation therefore from that other person.


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