Sierra Leone Bar Association has expressed disappointment over some of the statements made the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Pricilla Shwartz in the launching of the commissions of inquiry last Monday 29 January.
The Association made their views known in press statement dated 31 January and signed by the Secretary General.
They schooled the Attorney General and Minister of Justice that issues in front of the court should not be discussed as they are sub judice and are tantamount to an interference with the due process.
“This is sad and unfortunate departure from ethics and code of conduct of our profession. We expect the Attorney General and Minister of Justice as titular head of the bar to lead by example,” the Bar Association lashed.
They furthered stated that for the AG to say that lawyers should desist from litigating in the court of public opinion is ‘ill-advised and unwarranted’ because in their words, “ it was disappointing to hear the AG castigates particularly senior members of the profession for exercising their fundamental rights of freedom of expression , by proffering their views and opinions, outside the forum of the courts, relating to the lack of rules or procedures governing the conduct of the commissions of inquiry as mandated by the constitution of Sierra Leone…”
The Bar Association stated that they are disappointed that the Attorney General will state that the commissions of inquiry will not and shall not wait for the rules of court committee to make rules and practice of procedures when this is a clear requirement of section 150 of the constitution.
“The Association makes no comment about the legality of past commissions of inquiry, however, the Attorney General cannot rely on past wrongs to justify present or future wrong behaviour,” the Bar Association slammed.
They said that it is unfortunate that the AG has taken a negative view of the role of members of the profession in launching the legal challenge in the Supreme Court to ensure that the Rule of Law and the protection of the law are guaranteed as laid down in the constitution.
They also called on the AG to lead by example in defending and upholding the supremacy of the constitution by advising the government to comply with section 150 of the constitution or use her offices to ensure that matter is resolved in the Supreme Court.