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Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio Meets Outgoing Bar Association Executive, Commends the Bar President for Her Leadership  

State House, Freetown, Wednesday 14 February 2024 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has received the outgoing executive members of the Sierra Leone Bar Association, who called at his office to update him on key achievements during their tenure, and commended their leadership role in nationbuilding.

Its President, Eddinia Michaela Swallow Esq., thanked President Bio for his support to the association and described her tenure as very successful, pointing out that they had conducted many trainings, including one by judges from the UK, for the first time, to deliver training in advocacy in Sierra Leone.

“So, what we have now, after that training, is a core of judges and senior lawyers trained to train our lawyers on advocacy. This will improve the quality of our profession,” she said.

Swallow Esq. said one of their biggest interventions was the Dems Project for Boys, which sought to support juveniles, adding that while there were funds to support girls and women, the same could not be said for boys.

“After due observation, we realised that every time a boy makes mistakes, there is no second chance for him. As an executive, we decided to go to Dems and search for boys who have made mistakes. Since June 2023, when we launched the project to date, 90 percent of boys at Dems have been acquitted and discharged.

“Our project gives them free legal aid, which includes a fair hearing and speedy trial. We provide skills training and psychosocial counseling for them.

“So, we want to say thank you and assure you that the Bar Association will always be there to support your aspirations for the rule of law and access to justice and will always be there to support your government,” she assured.

President Julius Maada Bio thanked the association of lawyers and acknowledged that they were very important, not only in the country but also for engagements abroad, pointing out that “your hard work and the collective leadership demonstrated have led to your membership choosing you to lead them.

“I am sure this is just a step in life, and it will serve as a history that your tenure reached certain milestones. I want to say thank you for the services you provide to your association and also for your leadership. I pray your successor will always count on my support for your association. I am always ready to help”.

The President noted that their efforts in helping the boys were very good, adding that people had suffered unnecessary pain because they lost their way in their formative years. He said if the association had not come to their help, they would have perished and lost their way for the rest of their lives.

“So, you have been saving lots of lives, the future, and the careers of very bright kids. We are all bound to make mistakes anyway, especially at that age,” the President said, adding that punishing juveniles by putting them in the same system as adults was very stressful.

He said he was happy that the Bar Association had taken up the task of providing services for them and encouraged people, in the future, to pay attention to young boys in conflict with the law.

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