Ms. Carlton-Hanciles and team were on a visit to Moyamba Town last Friday, August 4 to hold consultations with stakeholders in preparation for the launch of the Legal Aid Board office which is scheduled for 19 August 2017. The Team also took time to canvass opinion on the justice delivery system in the district.
Ms. Carlton-Hanciles and team were shocked to find out that those who are fined by the Magistrate upon delivery of judgment have not been able to secure their release from detention because the NRA does not have a presence in the town. This is despite the fact that they have the money to pay the fine imposed by the Magistrate.
‘Most of the victims are our clients who have been convicted of traffic and other minor offences and as such continue to swell up the population in the Correctional Center in Moyamba,’ she said. ‘They have to pay the fine in Bo which is nearly eighty miles away, where the NRA has an office. We believed this is responsible for the overcrowding in the Correctional Center in Moyamba. NRA has to move in to ensure our clients have somewhere in the court to pay their fines.’
Ms. Carlton-Hanciles is also concerned about the lack of support for victims of sexual crimes especially sexual penetration cases. ‘I would like to encourage non-governmental organizations to move in and provide support to these women many of who are school going pupils,’ she said.
In a related development, those charged with murder face serious delays in accessing justice in the sense that the High Court has sat once in the district since the start of the year. According to Ms. Carlton-Hanciles, Moyamba currently has five murder cases awaiting trial.
Speaking on another serious challenge facing the justice sector, Ms. Carlton-Hanciles said the Correctional Center in Moyamba does not have a vehicle to convey remand inmates to court. ‘There have been instances in which the Magistrate has had to use his official vehicle to convey remand inmates to court,’ she said.
Ms. Carlton-Hanciles described consultations on the launch of the office in Moyamba as very successfully. She noted that key stakeholders took part in the consultative meeting which included the Paramount Chief, Foday Gulama; the District Officer, Sylvester A. Bangura; Deputy Chairman Moyamba District Council, Rev. Anthony Pessima; Representative of Local Unit Commander, Inspector Saidu Bangura and the Chairman of Civil society Organizations, Abdul Joe Kamanda. She used the meeting to intimate stakeholders that the office will be launched by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara.
The Legal Aid Board has been operating an office in Moyamba since September 2016. It is the only institution with a resident lawyer in the District.