Friday, June 25, 2010


By Victor Kaicombey.

“Lack of evidence of harm is not evidence of lack of harm”.

It is your legal rights to be “presumed Innocent until proven guilty”. The age-old legal principle, a legal norm that rest on the onus of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Many people are yet to take advantage of this principle in defence of their rights.
Consult your legal warrior and pursue your cause, that you may have all the chances to overcome the battle. Likely a shift from been ignorant to be well informed. Always seek advice from your Legal Aid before you say or do anything. Recognizing the burden of proof seems a fairly straightforward in respect and protection of your human rights, inalienable or natural rights.
Let’s take a look at the criminal justice system as the paradigm case. This is viewed by two ways by which a miscarriage of justice can come about. Either the suspect did not commit the crime, but the verdict found him guilty; or the suspect did commit the crime, but the verdict found him not guilty.

In a civilized system of justice, the risks of the first type of error are minimized as far as possible. These underscore the importance of the adage legal principle “innocent until proven guilty." The system contains safeguards and precautions in the form of high standards of proof so as to ensure that a suspect will be condemned for a certain criminal offense only if it has been established "beyond reasonable doubt" that he / she in fact committed the alleged offense.

We may try to reduce the risk of condemning an innocent person by demanding ever more exacting standards of proof but only at the expense of increasing the risk of acquitting culpable offenders. Are we realizing this type of system within our criminal justice system in Sierra Leone? Therefore, we must recognize that there is an inevitable trade-off involved in the design of our system of criminal justice. We may attempt to set our standards as high as we can, but somewhere a balance must be struck, lest the system will become unworkable by making it too difficult to pass sentence on the majority of wrongful offenders. Corruption in the legal system is a big weapon that dent the realization of criminal justice system by which justice is not given to the poor or the underprivileged in developing countries, my country is not in exception. How do we confront these challenges in our societies?

“Lack of evidence of harm is not evidence of lack of harm”
. If we are really concerned about such legal misconduct, we can put in additional investigative effort to learn more about their plausibility or likelihood. It would be absurd to halt our inquiries / investigation with an appeal...
At the other side of the coin, should our inquiries / criminal investigations be halt with an appeal? Why or why not? How do we relate with this appears to be an invitation for your comments.
Stay connected for my next article “Legal Bit”.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This article made me to recall my memory with deep reflection at the time when I sue someone and decided to take a lawyer in order to pursue my case. It was a real legal battle between the guy and I.My only courage of pursuing the battle was in defend of my human rights and to set a precident for other person not to seize advantage on our people in the village since I was one of the most educated person in that region.
Apparently, after the defendant, my opponent realized that he was going to lose the case and be jailed plus fine, he quietly came to me together with other closed friend to beg me with a huge sum of money that even covered twice all of my expenses.
To cut matters short, I then accepted the money because I was totally bank-rupt and as a very,very poor village teacher I was even about to withdraw from the legal battle because of my financial and economic situation then. The defendant was spending money , bribing and corrupting police and Lawyers for my case to just die as natural death. You could not believe that the Lawyers and police men were even part of the team that visited me to accept the money from the defendant. I have no choice but to accept it.... Was that a bribe or..? did I set good precident? I was going to be stick to my dicission but a very poor teacher was offered trice of his monthly salary and at that good morning I was not even having a cup of bulgur to cook for my family. However, it was a joy that he came out to me and expressed sign of remorse especially when we just experienced our civil conflict and working towards reconciliation and peace building. These were all excuses , a courage to accept the money that was offered to me. With reference to the above article, on last paragraph "Should our inquiries / criminal investigations be halt with an appeal? why and why not?".
From this question , my own legal battle / investigations was halt with an appeal and the cash (huge money), but the appeal was not my first option but an excuse to access the huge sum of money that was offered to me. This is a life experience. After couple of months, this same guy was bragging around just because he has influence and money. Inturn, some of my friends were then telling me that I should have not accepted that money but, again I had no choice at that time because poverty was a friend of my situtation and had to bowdown to them.
In the area of halting legal cases , investigations with an appeal, how do we reconcile them with restitution and reparation in peace building and reconciliation? if for any good reason it is done in the name of peace, does it mean that it is an obstruction of justice or criminal investigation? is it a good precident?
In my scenario, did I take the right decission by accepting the money? was it in the interest of peace or for money? to me, it was really for money but not sure if it really addressed the objective of my legal fight.

I will be so grateful to get comments from others about my action...and what they should have done if they were in my position at that time ..and if samething happens now , what will be your reaction?

This is


July 31, 2010 at 12:10 AM  

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