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LAB secures discharge of Guinean Child

11,Nov 2016
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The Legal Aid Board secured the discharge of a 15 year old Guinean boy who was standing trial for conspiracy and shop breaking.

Joseph Turay of Defence for Children International (DCI) said his organization has been involved with the case right from the outset in September 2016 when they started monitoring it at the Eastern Police Station in Freetown. He added that the organization also did family tracing for the accused but could not track any family member.  According to Joseph, the only family member people knew about was said to have returned to Guinea a long time ago.

Joseph said they brought the matter to the attention of the Legal Aid Board and the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affair for assistance with legal representation and psycho-social support. 

Lawyer for the Legal Aid Board, Joel Deen Tarawally started representing the boy on 31 October 2016.  Even though an application for bail was granted by Magistrate Atto During, they could not secure a surety. This means the boy had to remain on remand at the Dems Remand Home.

The matter was discharged on the 10 November 2016 for want of prosecution as a result of doubts in the records. This follows an adjournment for clarification because the records from the Magistrate Court were unclear and raise serious doubts in the Juvenile Court which is due in part to the fact that the boy was jointly charged with an adult who had already been discharged.

Following his release, the boy said thieves broke into the shop he was sleeping in when he went to the toilet. He reported the matter immediately to the owner of the shop who told him the matter will be examined in the morning. At dawn, the owner of the shop reported the matter to the Eastern Police Station. He was consequently invited to the station and detained as part of the investigations. He spent five days in police cell before the matter was charged to court.

During pre-discharge counseling at the head office of the Legal Aid Board, the boy expressed a desire to return to Guinea. The Board will facilitate his return through the support of the Sierra Motor Drivers Association. 

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