In his maiden statement, the acting Chief Justice disclosed that there are clear evidence before the court that exposed several disconnects and lapses on the part of staff within the Under Sherriff’s department of the judiciary and the Sierra Leone Correctional Centre.
According to the him, he realized that the actual addresses of sureties and the accused persons in custody for further trial were not stated in his file which does not only negates the rules of the court by ensuring that proper records of accused persons are before the court, but also creates time consuming session and unnecessary inconvenience.
The Acting Chief Justice made this outburst in a direct response to a matter in which he discharged an accused called, Abdul Conteh whose trial was committed to the High Court more than six years ago for the offence of manslaughter and that the particulars of offence states that the said accused, Abdul Conteh had allegedly killed one Fisher Macrey in a road accident in the Freetown.
Soon after the matter was discharged by the presiding Judge, the Court Registrars went through their records and discovered that it was not Abdul Conteh in their records but Abdulai Conteh who charged with the offence of robbery with aggravation contrary to the laws of Sierra Leone.
The accused, Abdulai Conteh was about to leave the court room when he was rearrested and returned to the dock, thus leaving the Justice Valecius Thomas with no option but to raise serious eye brows over the improper information and records of prisoners in the custody of the Sierra Leone Correctional Centre before the court for trial
Justice Valecius Thomas further intimated that the court is also in possession of documents bearing the names of sureties with no accurate addresses, disclosing that a surety called Musu Bangura indicated in the bail bond that she leaves at 55 Waterloo in the outskirt of Freetown when actual fact 55 in Waterloo is a very big area.
He therefore insisted that various auxiliary entities in the trial process of matters before the High Court must be able to furnish the court with accurate and reliable records and information of prisoners, ensure that sureties and accused persons on bail and those in custody in a well organized and proper form before they are brought in court for trial noting that, justice and fairness should not only be dispensed to the accused persons but also to the complainants. He therefore ordered that the all the names of accused persons on bail and the correct addresses of sureties be properly collated and submitted to the court.
The legal team for Abdul Conteh headed by A.I. Sesay sought an order to the court for the accused to be brought in on Friday, 18th September, 2015 for him to be discharged.