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NEWS : Local News  

In Sierra Leone, Bail Policy Is Illegal and Should Be Ignored Ė Sahid M. Sesay Esq.
By Bintu Aminata Sesay
Feb 17, 2010, 17:26
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Prominent Freetown Lawyer Sahid M. Sesay Esq. of Serry Kamal & Co. Chambers has informed that the recently launched Bail Policy which was launched with much fanfare by the Judiciary is nothing but a compilation of pieces of papers that were illegal, had no enforceable powers and should be disregarded as such unless the document was first presented to the House of Parliament for approval. Lawyer Sesay strongly made this assertion whilst he was addressing Magistrate Court yesterday Tuesday 16th February 2010. He was responding to an application from Lawyer Hannah A. Ahmed to have her client be granted bail and during which she cited the recently launched Bail Policy as her authority.

"You can quote me to anyone and you can quote me anywhere. That Bail Policy, call it new Bail Policy or whatever is illegal," the erudite lawyer said.

The matter was one concerning one Cordelia Carew who was to subsequently be denied bail and get remanded at the Pademba Road Maximum Prison by the Presiding Magistrate of the Freetown Magistrate Court No. 3, Bankole Shyllon. Her alleged crime is inflicting wounds on the complainant Kadiatu Turay who allegedly received 47 stitches to her head after the incident.

The Particulars of Offence states that the accused person Cordelia Carew on Saturday 6th February 2010, at No. 14 Chapel Street in Freetown, committed various offences ranging from Wounding with Intent, Wounding and Assault Occasioning in Actual Bodily Harm that resulted in the complainant Kadiatu Turay receiving forty- seven (47) stitches to her head.

The accused person was not allowed to take any plea in court. Police Sgt. Bangura was prosecuting the matter with lawyers Sahid M. Sesay and S. V. Khatumal associating whilst Hannah A. Ahmed was defending the accused person.

The Prosecutors however told the court that they will not be going on with their witness until she first conducts an interview with her and asked for an adjournment of the matter to another date. It was at this point that the Defense Counsel, Madam Hannah Ahmed made an application for bail to be granted to the accused person saying that the offence is a bailable one and that the accused will not jump bail nor will she interfere with the prosecution witnesses and that the accused is no risk to security.

Associating Lawyer for the Complainant, Sahid M. Sesay however objected strongly to bail being granted to the accused person and asked the Magistrate to look into the seriousness of the offence before thinking of granting bail. He further went on to say that the crimes are very serious offences.

Defence Lawyer Hannah A. Ahmed then responded that the charges before the court are mere allegations and that at this stage; the accused is innocent until proven guilty. Lawyer Ahmed also told the court that she strongly denies that the complainant received 47 stitches as claimed and that she will prove it during her cross examination. "The accused person is a student and not a criminal and I believe you should use your discretion in granting her bail," Hannah Ahmed told the court as she then cited the recently launched new Bail Policy.

It was at this point that Lawyer Sahid Sesay added that he did not want the Magistrate to look into the new Bail Policy because the policy is yet an unregistered policy which makes it illegal. "It can only become legal when it is tabled in parliament and approved by elected Parliamentarians," he told the court.

S.M. Sesay concluded by saying that "the accused person has the characteristics of a beast" and is not a student at all.

After listening to both the Prosecution and the Defense, Magistrate Shyllon then ordered that the accused person be remanded in custody until tomorrow 17th February 2010, so that the Prosecution would start the matter. The Bail Policy was launched in October of 2009 to much fanfare by the Judiciary and it was well received by the general public and had resulted in a lot of laudable comments for the Judiciary at the time. Meanwhile, the initial public reaction to the position of Lawyer Sahid Sesay has been one of dismay with many citizens saying that if Lawyer Sahid Sesayís position expressed was truly correct, then the Judiciary should be condemned for publicizing a document that had no legally enforceable powers.

"Was the Judiciary just fooling the public that Sierra Leone now had a serious modern Bail Policy? This is very sad if they just pulled the wool over our eyes," an elderly gentleman who was in court for his sonís matter remarked to seated journalists.

Meanwhile, efforts to contact the Master & Registrar of the Courts for the Judiciaryís reaction to the strongly stated position of Lawyer Sahid Sesay proved futile as of time of going to press.


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