The Sierra Leone Bar Association has during its Annual Dinner and first Awards Night awarded over 20 eminent Sierra Leonean legal practitioners for their dedicated service and outstanding reforms in the administration of justice.
The Guest of Honour was President Dr Julius Maada Bio who presented an Honorary Award to the Country’s Chief Justice, His Lordship Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards in recognition of his innovative reforms in the Judiciary.
The Bar Association President, Madam Michaela Eddinia Swallow used the occasion to call on President Bio to ensuring the immediate review of the Sierra Leone 1991 Constitution.
“Let me also use this opportunity to state that the Sierra Leone Bar Association is concerned about the Constitutional Review Process and we hope that as a Reformer you will usher us a progressive Constitution,” said President Swallow.
She saluted President Bio’s bravery and courage in abolishing the Death Penalty. The Bar Association President went on to commend President Bio for the giant developmental strides undertaken so far.
“Mr. President, your legislative reform agenda which has manifested in the repeal of the seditious libel law, the proposed Gender Empowerment Bill and your support for a proposed Constitutional amendment to allow dual citizens to be qualified to be elected as Members of Parliament will serve as an inspiration for many of your colleagues in the sub-region,” she said.
Whilst commending the Chief Justice for what she described as “impressive reforms in the Judiciary,” President Swallow reminded the Chief Justice about the challenges lawyers are confronted with in Courts. She highlighted delayed judgments, long adjournment of cases and the absence of prescribed fees for execution of judgments.
“I am sure many judges here had once been practitioners and they are all too familiar with these challenges,” Ms Swallow said.
She however assured the Chief Justice of their unwavering support to help address these challenges.
She finally encourages colleague lawyers to be united as, “where there is unity there is strength.
This year’s Bar Association Dinner was climaxed with awards ceremony and the recipients included the Justices of the superior court of judicature, senior practitioners, pupils, staff members in the Judiciary and the Justice sector.