Giving details of the plan, Ms. Carlton-Hanciles said the Board will work with a coalition of children’s organizations to develop and disseminate messages on child rights. In addition, petty traders and other civil society organizations will be brought on board to enforce decisions that will be taken to keep children in school and away from the markets and the streets.
She lamented that many children from upcountry end up being abused by those who have been entrusted with their care. She added that some of the children come into conflict with the law and find themselves in juvenile homes or correctional centers unbeknown to their parents.
She disclosed that the draft training manual for Paralegals developed by the Board will be sent to South Africa for comments and suggestions before it is finalized. This she stressed will pave the way for training of the Board’s Paralegal. In addition, it will be used to train partners in civil society as paralegals to monitor the delivery of justice in the formal, informal and Alternative Dispute Resolution Services.
Ms. Carlton-Hanciles stressed that the Board has achieved a lot in the Alternative Dispute Resolution Services which mediate cases of a non-criminal nature. ‘We have successfully mediated two thousand six hundred and ninety-two (2692) cases since March 2016 when it was introduced,’ she said.
Responding to a question on the delay in the filing of indictments for remand inmates, Carlton-Hanciles said the process takes time especially with an increase in the crime rate.
In the area of transforming those serving time in the correctional centers, Carlton-Hanciles said the Board has earmarked certain organizations to provide skills trainings for inmates. ‘We have a proposal from the Sierra Leone Union Photographer (SLUP) to train prison inmates in photography,’ she said. ‘Once we have the donor, the training will start. Also, the new Criminal Procedure Act (CPA) has a number of opportunities for those serving time in prison’
Carlton-Hanciles seized the opportunity to announce that the Board will start the provisional accreditation of legal aid providers and organizations and individuals interested in providing legal aid in the first quarter of 2017.
‘We call on those concerned to process and submit their applications for consideration during this period,’ she said. ‘The Accreditation Criteria Forms will be available in our offices in Freetown, Makeni, Bo and Kenema. Those who engage in the provision of legal aid without being accredited by the Board commit an offence and will be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding thirty-million leones or to an imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years.’