He made his first appearance at the Waterloo Magistrate court on 14 March 2017. He was denied bail and the matter was remitted to Juvenile Court No. 8 in Freetown where he was represented by the Board’s Juvenile Lawyer, Joel Deen-Tarwally.
On March 28, Lawyer Deen-Tarawally made an application for discharge on the grounds that the boy is below fourteen years and therefore cannot be held criminally responsible for his actions. The application was denied. At the same time, the Magistrate ordered an age assessment. Bail application was also granted.
The age assessment result presented in court on March 30 revealed that the boy is between the age of 12 and 13. Lawyer Deen-Tarawally therefore applied for discharge of the boy pursuant to Section 70 of the Child Rights Act 2007. The application was granted by Magistrate Otto During.
The boy is a primary school pupil from Lungi. He was tracked at the Dems Juvenile Home in Kingtom during routine monitoring by Joseph Turay a Social Worker with Defence for Children International. Joseph was able to trace the boy’s family in Lungi. He also approached the Legal Aid Board for legal assistance.
The Board also secured the discharge of a child from Tombo who was charged with sexual penetration. The child spent nine days in the adult cell at the Tombo Police Station before the matter was charged on the 23 February 2017. He spent over two months on remand and made four appearances in Court No. 8 before he was discharged for want of prosecution on March 29. He was also represented by Lawyer Deen-Tarawally.
During pre-discharge brief, the Executive Director of the Legal Aid Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles encouraged the children to waste no time in returning school when they reunite with their families. ‘Education should be your number one priority as a child,’ she said. She called on relevant agencies to play their part in rehabilitating the children.