Ms. Carlton-Hanciles pointed out that Hon. Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara has served as keynote speaker in all the launches the Board has had around the country. He noted that the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice is the supervisory ministry for the Legal Aid Board and further underlined the importance of having the holder of the office at such events in terms of availing himself with the challenges ordinary people face in accessing the justice system. More importantly, it provides an opportunity for these issues to be discussed by the cabinet.
Ms. Carlton-Hanciles made the disclosure while addressing a cross section of the waterloo community including stakeholders from the Western Area Rural District Council, Teachers, Petty traders, drivers, women and youth leaders, traditional healers, Tribal Heads and the Head Man for Waterloo at the District Council Hall on Monday, 24 April 2017. The meeting was meant to plan for the launch of the Legal Aid Board in Waterloo in the Western Area Rural District.
Ms. Carlton-Hanciles noted that the Board has been confronted with questions meant for the Attorney General and Minster of justice during outreach events. ‘Imagine people asking what the Board is doing for remand inmates without indictments,’ she said. ‘We do have a part to play in terms of follow-ups and sharing the information with the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of justice, but when it comes to filing indictments it is the Office of Attorney General and Ministry of Justice that is responsible. So, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice is the most appropriate person to provide answers to questions in this area.’
Ms. Carlton-Hanciles recalled the launch of the Board in Port Loko in which a civil society leader, Mohamed Kamara of Campaign for Good Governance blamed the State Counsel/Law Officers Department in Makeni for the delay in charging matters to court because it is very slow in proffering advice on case files from the Port Loko Police.
She also recalled an issue that came up at the launch of the office in Kenema in which the Mayor of Kenema, Joseph S. Kelfala drew the attention of the AG, Hon. Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara to the matter involving supporters of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) who have been in detention for a long time coupled with delays in the trial.