By Nelson Manneh
Scarcity of vehicles at the Brikama Magistrates Court hampers mobility of court officials including Magistrates who daily share one vehicle that makes more than one trip. Sources say that Magistrates at the Brikama Magistrates Court struggle every day to get to work.
It was confirmed to Foroyaa that six (6) out of the eight (8) magistrates share a vehicle.
The Magistrates Court currently has eight (8) Magistrates among whom only two have their personal vehicles that they are using.
The litigants complain of late start of court sittings due to the late time that the magistrates arrive at the court. They are calling for the government to remedy this situation so that the court sittings can start by 9 am.
They expressed frustration on how they feel about their cases being delayed and adjourned endlessly especially when clerks tell them that the magistrates aren’t around for their matters to proceed.
The frustrated litigants blame the magistrates and are of the view that their cases are not being seriously handled by the trial magistrates. Some even request for their cases to be transferred to another Magistrate because they are tired with the excuses given to them.
This reporter visited the Magistrates Court on the 17th of October 2018 and spoke to some of some magistrates who told him that the information is true and that this has been happening for many years ago.
Speaking to Foroyaa, Magistrate Muhammed Krubally, who said he has spent more than a year at the Brikama Magistrates Court and stated that for long they have been complaining about the issue of their mobility but to no avail.
Magistrate Krubally said some of the magistrates who are not having their own vehicles sometimes join the commercial vehicles to come to work which according to him is not correct.
“If you are handling a criminal matter and you pass a judgement on it and if unfortunately you join the same vehicle with the person against whom the judgement was delivered, the person may do harm to that magistrate or even insult him or her; that is not proper,” he said.
He added that some cases are delayed not because the Magistrates are not ready to fast-track them but due to unavailability of vehicles.
“Some of the accused persons are in prison and they are always in limbo of their cases. Their cases are adjourned continuously for weeks or months. Justice delayed is justice denied,” he said.
Some of the police prosecutors at the Brikama Magistrates court who spoke to this reporter said many a time their cases do not proceed due to the lateness of the Magistrates.
“We keep on adjourning the matters because the Magistrates are nowhere to be seen. We know that is not their fault. They should be provided with vehicles as they are here to make sure that justice is delivered,” they said.
Efforts were made in other to reach the principal Magistrate Omar Cham to share his view but he could not be reached.