Why Slow Proceedings at High Court? Judicial Secretary Explains

By Kebba Jeffang

It has been observed by this medium that several cases continue to be pending at high court even though the vacation has ended since last month.

When this reporter visited the high court premises to find out whether the situation has changed for the better on Monday, 2nd October, 2015, he observed that the high court complex is still boring as many courts were not sitting.

Justice Basiru Mahoney was the only judge seen presiding over matters.

Court room number one which is occupied by Justice  Simon  Ateh  Abi where most of the criminal proceedings are heard including high profile cases, was seen empty at the time of this reporter’s visit.

The special criminal court which was occupied by Justice Emmanuel Amadi was also not sitting at that material time.

The court complex by extension was less busy than usual and movement was minimal.

The electronic screen that shows the schedule of cases was switched off.

In his effort to find out whether the situation is caused by a limited number of judges at High court, the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, he approached the judicial secretary to be provided with the list of all the judges or the number of judges at the superior courts.

However, Mr. Landing Sanneh, the judicial Secretary declined to do so.

Meanwhile, he explained that the delay of proceedings was caused by the vacation and the recent contract expiration of two judges. He said many high profile cases are heard in the criminal court presided over by Justice Simon Abi who resumed from leave not long ago. He said Justice Abi has even started sittings over matters. He added that even that very day Justice Abi was there to preside over cases.

Mr. Sanneh added that, “the contract expiration of Justice Emmanuel Amadi and Justice Ikpala who left the country was another issue to be considered. The two judges are yet to be replaced but we are working towards their replacement soon,” said Mr Sanneh.

Several high profile cases including the case of 9 senior fisheries officials who are on bail namely; Ousman Badjie, former Works Minister also on bail and Alhagie Abdoulie Ceesay, Managing Director of Taranga FM radio are all litigated in the court of Justice Abi. The radio journalist is still languishing in jail for over 4 months without bail.  The case of Ebrima Jawara, the former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and colleagues has also not proceeded on the last adjourned date due to lack of a judge.