Open letter to Attorney General Serry-Kamal
Dear Mr. Attorney-General, Re: PROTEST AGAINST MISUSE/ABUSE OF EXECUTIVE POWER BY THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S OFFICE.
I write to protest most strongly about what I consider to be the wanton and deliberate misuse/abuse of Executive Power by your office yesterday in the Magistrates Court, in the hope that it will not be repeated in future.
On the 25th day of March 2010 a Criminal summons based on a Four (4) Count Charge was issued against DR. DENNIS SANDY [The Minister of Lands] and two (2) Others, for various offences committed by them between February and March 2010 against Mr. O.J. Cline-Cole and Mrs. Lara Taylor-Pearce [two (2) Private Citizens], including Malicious Damage, Trespass, Intimidation and Defamatory Libel, contrary to the Malicious Damage Act 1861, and The Public Order Act No.46 of 1965.
The Summons were duly served on all the Accused Persons, but when the matter came up for hearing before Magistrate Herbert Davies-Cole, DR. DENNIS SANDY did not appear in Court, even though there were affidavits of Service filed to show that all the Accused had been duly served. The Court ordered that Notices be served on the Accused Persons and again Affidavits of Service were filed showing that all the Accused had been served. DR. DENNIS SANDY still did not turn up in Court after several adjournments, and instead, he went over the Radio and television and indicated quite clearly that he would not attend Court, and made insulting and disparaging remarks about the Complainants and their Solicitors. BENCH WARRANTS were issued for the Accused, and the matter was finally fixed for hearing on the 28th June 2010.
On Monday 28th June 2010, the matter was called up for hearing, and the Complainants appeared in the Court with their Counsel, while Dr. Dennis Sandy still did not appear in Court, although the other two (2) accused JOE TOMMY and MR. VANDI appeared in Court. To the utter amazement, shock, consternation and dismay of all present, The Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr. O.V. Robbin-Mason, and Osman Kanu Esq. State Counsel, appeared in Court [apparently for no one because even the two (2) other accused had been asked out of the Court], and the DPP announced to the Court that he had taken over the prosecution of The Case, and that he had filed a Notice of Discontinuance of the matter, and that was the end of the Case. [What we popularly call NOLLE PROSEQUI] Counsel for the Complainants stood up to make a protest to the Court, but was told that the case had ended, and he was not allowed to speak. AND INDEED THAT WAS THE END OF THE MATTER!!!
Mr. Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, I am fully aware that Section 66(4) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone [as Amended], gives the director of Public Prosecutions power to discontinue criminal proceedings instituted by himself or any other person or authority, but surely such power was never meant to be misused or abused to protect anyone who has committed Criminal offences for which they have been brought before the Court. Dr. Dennis Sandy is alleged to have committed offences against the Criminal Law of this Country including Malicious Damage to private property, Trespass on private property and Intimidation and Defamatory libel against private citizens. He treated the Court with contempt, and openly boasted that he would not attend any Court. Instead of encouraging him to submit himself to the Jurisdiction of the Court, as would be the case in any Country practicing real and meaningful democracy, the Second Most Senior Law Officer in the State comes to Court, and without any reference to Counsel who had instituted the action in the first place, discontinued the action, setting Dr. Dennis Sandy and his men free to repeat their actions with impunity against other Private Citizens in future!!
Mr. Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, The Constitution of Sierra Leone at Section 8(2) (a) provides that; “Every Citizen shall have equality of Rights, obligations and opportunities before the Law…..” and at Section 8(2)(c) that; “The Government shall secure and maintain the Independence, impartiality and integrity of the Courts of Law and unfettered access thereto, and to this end shall ensure that the operation of the legal system promotes Justice on the basis of equal opportunity, and that opportunities for Security Justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disability.”
Do you think that by your behaviour yesterday, you have demonstrated equality of rights, obligations and opportunities before the Law? Is that the way you operate the legal system so as to promote Justice on the basis of equal opportunity? Have you shown that the opportunities for securing justice are not denied to our Clients? WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO DENY JUSTICE to MR. CLINE-COLE and his daughter MRS. TAYLOR-PEARCE? Is it because you think that Dr. Dennis Sandy is above the Law? Does the Government of Sierra Leone have to protect one of its own even where that person has transgressed the Criminal Laws of the Land? IF Private Citizens cannot be allowed to pursue justice in the Courts of Law when they have been offended by The Ruling Class or the Powers-that-be, then what do you expect them to do?
As I said before, Mr. Attorney-General, I am deeply shocked, amazed and disappointed that you, as Attorney-General and your D.P.P. could misuse and/or abuse your power to such an extent, just to protect an errant Minister who has not only offended private citizens and committed criminal acts against them, [and even Parliament itself], but has constantly and repeatedly made false and inaccurate statements about the State of the Law as it touches and concerns LAND MATTERS in the Western Area, without you making a single statement to correct him or state the Law accurately as set out in the relevant Statutes.
As you very well know, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified the failure and/or denial of Social Justice as one of the principal causes of the rebel War in Sierra Leone, where people saw their rights abused and trampled upon by those who saw themselves as being above the Law, and without them having any redress for same. I would remind you, Sir, that Political Power is held only for a fleeting moment in the history of man, and it is necessary to keep constantly in mind that while you hold such power you are still a human being, even if you see yourself as a demi-God, and that one day you will return to life as an ordinary mortal, and you will then have cause to remember that while you held power, you abused and misused it and trampled upon the rights of others. Indeed, Mr. Attorney-General, history, time, and posterity are very HARSH JUDGES, and we can only wait to see how your actions and those of your D.P.P. in Court No.11 yesterday will be Judged.
In Conclusion, let me say that it is very sad that we continue to pay lip-service to all these lofty and high sounding precepts about equality before the Law, and no Sacred Cows, and justice for all no matter what, separation of powers etc. etc, but what we do in practice is just the opposite, and we should be ashamed of ourselves. Now you have deprived two (2) peaceful ordinary Citizens of their rights to seek redress for criminal acts committed against them by one of your “UNTOUCHABLES”; and you have given the said “untouchable” carte blanche to continue to misbehave and molest other peaceful ordinary citizens in whatever way he chooses.
I sincerely hope you are not in the process of creating a MONSTER which will turn on you and devour you in due time, when it is completely out of control.Yours-in-Disgust and Disappointment, JB Jenkins-Johnston, Jenkins-Johnston & Co., Barristers, Solicitors, Commissioner for Oaths and Notary Public
(Photo: Attorney General Abdul Serry-Kamal)
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