The externs in professional mode

Friday, 20 January 2012

Just my thoughts about justice...

My experiences working as a legal extern at Advocaid have changed my perception greatly about the way I view the justice system in Sierra Leone and those who face it. I mean in the past, I used to think that the law is what we are told in our law classes, not realizing for a second that in reality the gulf between theory and practice could not have been wider.      Let’s take detention at police stations for example. The law says no person should be detained for more than 72 hours for minor offences and not more than 10 days for very serious offences. But going to the police stations across Freetown, has let me know firsthand that every so often people are kept for over 5 to 8 days for very minor offenses without any charge being brought against them. In most cases the complainant strikes a deal with the police to detain accused persons for longer than lawful/ necessary, something which some of the police (not all of them please) are only too willing to do for petty sums of money.

I think that the police, through its Complaint Discipline and Internal Investigation Department and other civil and international organizations are doing a lot to bring about changes in these areas. However, considering the frequency and normalcy in which things like this are done, I guess we still have a lot to do to curb this ugly situation and help the most vulnerable people in our communities access JUSTICE.
Alimamy Koroma (with input from Hawanatu Kamara), AdvocAid

Alimamy at work

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