Newly appointed Appeal Court Judge, Hon. Justice John Bosco Alieu, who was resident judge in the Northern Region, has said the largest region in the country, comprising Bombali, Tonkolili, Port Loko, Koinadugu and Kambia, only has one judge.
He was speaking while being interviewed by the Committee on Appointments and the Public Service on Tuesday, 19 April, 2016 at Committee Room 1, at Parliament Building.
Justice Allieu said he encountered major challenges during his time as judge of the entire region, adding that litigants from Koinadugu and Tonkolili have to travel all the way to Bombali for court sessions.
He also revealed that depending on the availability of funds, a circuit court sits in Port Loko and Kambia districts once every three months for a period of three week, adding that litigants travelled from faraway places like Krubola, Yiffin, and Mongo in Koinadugu to Makeni for hearings.
Another Appeal Court appointee, Hon. Justice Musu Damba Kamara, said that while serving as judge of the High Court she adjudicated in civil cases pertaining to land, adoption and family matters, while in criminal matters most of the accused persons that appeared before her were charged with robbery with aggravation, murder, rape and fraudulent conversion.
Hon. Justice Kamara said she had made a number of convictions in sexual offences cases, although unfortunately most matters are compromised after the parties settle out of court and fail to turn up again to give evidence against perpetrators.
Hon. Justice Allan Bami Halloway, who until recently was resident judge for the Eastern Region, one major challenge he encountered was difficulty in getting witnesses to appear in court to give evidence because of distance, adding that such creates backlog of cases.
The Appellate Court nominee said many prisoners languish in prison because they have not received their indictments and have no way of knowing when they would be called upon for trial.
Hon. Justice Sengu Mohamed Koroma, another Appeal Court appointee, while answering questions from the committee on the effectiveness of the Fast Track Court, said it was established to expedite commercial matters and promptly deliver judgments.
He said a key component of the Fast Track Commercial Court is the use of alternative dispute resolution, adding they “we hold an informal session with litigants with a view to settle the matter out of court without going to a full trial.”
Also, Abdul Rahman Mansaray and Mrs. Amy Juliet Wright were approved as High Court Judges.