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Former Attorney General calls for reconsideration of amended Criminal Procedure Act

HomeAYV NewsFormer Attorney General calls for reconsideration of amended Criminal Procedure Act

Former Attorney General calls for reconsideration of amended Criminal Procedure Act

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AYV News, July 10, 2024

Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, the former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, has called on members of parliament to reconsider the recently amended Criminal Procedure Act.

“Amidst growing concerns by the general public on the removal of jury trial from our criminal procedure laws, we urge MPs to recall the amendment and listen to the voice of the people,” Kamara wrote in a post shared on X.

“At a time when public confidence in the judiciary is low, the timing of such a law is ill-advised,” he added.

His appeal came after a series of concerns raised by lawyers and citizens regarding the removal of jury trials from criminal matters.

On July 5, 2024, the Sierra Leone Parliament passed the Criminal Procedure Act 2024, which abolished the jury system.

In his efforts to persuade Parliament to remove the jury trial from the bill, the Attorney General argued, “We are the only country within the African sub-region, apart from East Africa, practicing the jury system.”

The situation has sparked significant debate over the legislative process and its impact on democracy.

Lawyer Basita Michael, in an opinion piece, posed critical questions: “How can the legislative process maintain its credibility and integrity when the public is consulted during the drafting process of a bill drafted by the Attorney General’s office, and then the Attorney General surprisingly supports a significant change to that bill in the well of Parliament? Are we to expect the same to happen in the legislative process relating to the constitutional review process and the implementation of the tripartite recommendations?”

As the discussion continues, many are watching closely to see how parliament responds to these growing concerns and the call for a reconsideration of the amended act.

 

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