The Legal Aid Board (LAB) has secured the discharge of a Guinean, Aminata Jalloh at the High Court in Freetown. Aminata and her co-accused person, Joshua Malcom King were standing trial on a two-count charge of Conspiracy to commit a felony and shop breaking and Larceny, a charge she denied.
Aminata was released on 30 January, 2023 by Justice Monfred Sesay JA, during the January Call-Over held at the Freetown High Court No. 1 at Sika Stevens Street in Freetown. This follows a decision by the State Prosecutors not to offer any further evidence against the accused person.
The Board facilitated her repatriation to Conakry, Guinea through the help of the Western Area Fullah Tribal Head, Chief Alhaji Alimamy Mohamed Sajor Jalloh. Aminata was handed over to the Chief’s representative on 31 January 2023 at the Board’s head office at 27 Wilberforce Street in Freetown.
The handing-over and subsequent repatriation to Guinea follows a request from the court to the Board to facilitate Aminata’s return to Guinea to reunite her with her family.
Explaining her ordeal in court prior to her discharge, Aminata told the court she was lured to Sierra Leone on the promise of a good life. This promise she added turned into a nightmare. She said she was set up by the complainant noting she has never stolen anything in her life. She added that the complainant in question was her ex-boyfriend and was surprised at the way he had treated her.
Aminata recalled how she was detained at the Lumley Police station before being charged to court sometime in September last year and since then had been on remand.
She thanked the Board for its intervention and the judge for his compassion, adding that the experience will serve as a lesson not only to her but to her unborn children. “My dream is to return to Conakry and reunite with my grandfather as my father died many years ago,” she said.
Speaking to the beneficiary in the presence of the representative of Fullah Tribal Head, the Executive Director of the Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles admonished her to be law abiding and not to allow anybody to lure her out of her country on fake promises.
Ms. Carlton-Hanciles thanked the judge for his compassionate stance and handed over the beneficiary to Chief Jalloh’s representative in the presence of some Female Correctional Service Officers who had accompanied her to the LAB office.
In another related development, the Board on 1 January 2023 also secured the release of a juvenile offender from the High Court holden in Freetown. The offender was released during the January Call Over by Hon. Justice Monfred Sesay JA and just like Aminata the Board again facilitated his reunion with his family in Kambia district.
Aminata and her co-accused were represented by Legal Aid Counsels: Cecilia Tucker; Ibrahim Samba; Morrison Karimu; Harold Momoh; Randy Bangura; Taylor-Younge and Abraham Kargbo.