DOfA signs MOU with Legal Aid Board

November 26, 2020 Off By StandardTimes Newspaper

…to provide legal aid for older people

By Fadda Bakish

The Dorwontony Organization for the Aged (DOfA) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Legal Aid Board (LAB) for the provision of legal aid For older people. The MoU was signed by the Chief Executive Officer of DOfA, Doreen Barrie, and the Executive Director of the Legal Aid Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles on 28th October 2020 in Freetown.

Both leaders were excited to have such a working agreement, to protect the rights of the Aged in Sierra Leone. “This Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), hereinafter referred to as the Memorandum, by and between DOFA, with offices at No…. hereinafter referred to as the “First Party,” and Legal Aid Board, with entered into on offices at No. 27 Wilberforce Street, in Freetown, hereinafter referred to as the Second Party, and collectively known as the “Parties” to establish and achieve various goals and objectives relating to the issue of access to justice, such as speedy trial for older persons…”

DOfA is a local non-governmental organization established in 2020 to advocates for the rights and needs of elderly people and their dependents to contribute to their integral development.

“We employ advocacy, revenue mobilization to promote the welfare of the aged. One of the most sensitive stages in the life of any person is old age. At this stage, everything around us becomes quite delicate and we tend to become more dependent on other people to survive even against our wish. Care, support and comfort are very essential factors elderly people need to survive and lead a healthy lifestyle,” says the Chief Executive Officer of DOfA, Doreen Barrie, and stated that she is very grateful to have an MoU signed with LAB, which will go a long way in addressing the welfare issues faced by the aged in Sierra Leone.

“The Parties shall endeavor to work together to develop and establish policies and procedures that will promote and sustain the following: Ensure older persons have access to justice, Ensure older persons have access to legal aid services, Ensure older persons in correctional centers and other detention centers have a speedy trial, Ensure older persons report related legal issues bordering them to DOFA which would be channeled to LAB for a swift response,” the MoU states.

DOfA will also work with the Board to educate the aged people on the laws particularly the Sexual Offences Act 2012 (As Amended). “Many old people are serving time in correctional centers for committing sexual offenses,” Ms. Carlton-Hanciles said adding, “One client told me he was innocent of the offense because he cannot rape a woman when he is impotent.”

The organization will also refer aged people to the Board for legal advice and representation for those on trial, inform the Legal Aid Board when aged people are arrested and investigated by the Police, and work with the Board to lobby for release on compassionate grounds for those who continue to show good conduct and contrition.