From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, Magistrate Wellington Hailed for Enforcing Judicial Reforms
Aug 6, 2010, 17:08

About 20 accused persons were on Wednesday 4th August, 2010 arrested and detained at the Police cells in the Law Court building on the instructions of Principal Magistrate Johanes O. Wellington.


Lawyers were seen running up and down the court building making frantic efforts to plea with the no-nonsense Magistrate to recall their cases and subsequently release their clients who were issued bench warrants and detained in the cells.


Speaking to one of the litigants outside the Court, he informed this Reporter that on assumption of office on 1st July this year, Magistrate Wellington informed all Prosecutors, Court Clerks and litigants that Court start sitting at 9:00AM prompt and everybody must abide by this reform in the Judiciary. But it would appear that some elements in the judicial system particularly the junior staff are reluctant to accept change and continued coming to court at 11:00 AM.


Last Wednesday, most of the accused persons came to Court between the hours 11:00 AM to 12 noon which angered the Magistrate and issued a bench warrant for their arrest.


The source further told our Reporter that Magistrate Wellington has issued a stern warning to Police Prosecutors not to involve themselves in the settlement of serious criminal matters like gender based violence, including rape, indecent assault of young girls and domestic violence. The consequences of Police involvement with such matters will leave him with no option but to order their investigation and if found wanting charged with the offence of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.


Court sources have revealed that Magistrate Wellington no longer entertains unnecessary requests for adjournment by either Prosecutors or the defense, and where it is found that such adjournments are delaying the course of Justice, the case for the Prosecution is closed and the file withdrawn for ruling as the case may be.


Article Submitted for publication by:

Edward Kwame Yankson

Senior Assistant Secretary/Personal Assistant to the Minister

Ministry of Information and Communication.

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