The adage Justice delayed is Justice denied is neither an understatement nor an over statement. Delay of justice impinges on the human rights of individuals and every litigants seeking redress in the court of law and other related establishments, meant for the promotion of human and protection of rights. When seekers of justice are denied of this important ingredient in human endeavour the question as to where next to turn remains the unsolved mystery. All professional bodies are guided by the principles and concepts of human rights which remain the cardinal and focal point of their operations and practices.

The legal profession, like all other professions in the world is guided by principles that form the core value of its practice, be it in a democratic or non democratic setting. In a democratic system of governance the Judiciary occupies an enviable position. This is not only as a result of the significant and valuable contributions it is offering for the maintenance and independence of the arms of government and the promotion of democracy, but also the protection the rights of every human being as the last resort and harbinger of hope. In the life and existence of the judiciary as the third pillar of democracy, its effectiveness is regarded and pronounced when practitioners of the legal profession abide by laid down rules of operation. Similar situation do prevail other professional bodies to give status and respectability to the profession. Any deviation from the norm by any practitioner, certain corrective measures is adopted to curtail the excesses and adopt a sense of professional responsibility. This is so as the judiciary and legal luminaries belong to the society of learned men and women who are strong advocate of human rights and equality of mankind, but when justice is traded or denied the objective of the judiciary and its practitioners are mocked by society and the state is transformed to a jungle where only the strong survives.

Law Court Building and inset JB Jenkins Johnston

In Sierra Leone, the Legal and Disciplinary Committee was established by an Act of Parliament, entitled LEGAL PRACTITIONERS ACT 2000. This body monitors the practice of its members and also accepts complaints from litigants who feel aggrieved as a result of the conduct their legal representatives. It may appear as if the Legal and Disciplinary Committee in Sierra Leone operates on a parameter of selectivity, whereby cases that involve certain legal practitioners brought to its attention are left to swing like a pendulum, and the expectation of the complainant in the quest for justice is dashed and left frustrated.

A matter involving a legal practitioner was forwarded to the Legal and Disciplinary Committee on 12th March, 2012. The Complainant, a journalist and owner of the Standard Times Newspaper named Philip Neville reported Lawyer J.B.Jenkins Blyden Johnston for what he perceives to be either a Breach of Confidentiality, Abuse of Attorney-Client Privilege, Conflict of Interest or Professional Misconduct. The complaint was in line with the dictates of the Legal Practitioners Act 2000(See document dated 12th March, 2012) and entreated the Committee to examine the issues raised in the letter of complaint. Few days after the Committee responded by way of an acknowledgement of the letter of Complaint, dated 23rd March 2012. What now remains absurd and calculated as a denial of justice on the part of the Complainant is the non communication by the Disciplinary Committee regarding the status of the Complaint, while Lawyer J.B. Jenkins Johnston continues to appear in court in the matter that a complaint has already been filed against him. Though, the mandate of the Committee is not to dictate, interfere or embargo a trial or adjudicate matters in court, however, that could be a reason(s) why the Complaint should be addressed quickly in the interest of both the Complainant and Lawyer J.B.Jenkins Johnston. The delay whether deliberate or not may be viewed as suspicious and a ploy to protect its kind and expose the Complainant to more legal dangers.

As a mechanism enacted by Parliament that is meant to regulate the practice of the legal profession in the country, delay in the administration of justice should not be the corner stone of the operation the Disciplinary Committee.

Fear is now being expressed by the Complainant that the delay in justice is to the advantage of Lawyer J.B.Jenkins Johnston and a disadvantage to the Complainant who was expecting that being armed with the necessary legal tools and documents the Disciplinary Committee would have been able to close this chapter by now and “Give to Caesar what belongs to him” It is hope that at the Bar Association Conference the issue of justice delayed is justice denied would be discussed reasonably well so that Complaints would not be kept endlessly in the Disciplinary Committee Room


Posted by on 9:30 pm. Filed under Breaking News, IN THE COURTROOM, NEWS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login