Practice Relating to Rule 100. Fair Trial Guarantees
Section E. Necessary rights and means of defence
Sierra Leone’s Constitution (1991) states:
23. Provision to secure protection of law.
(5) Every person who is charged with a criminal offence –
b. shall be given adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence;
c. shall be permitted to defend himself in person or by a legal practitioner of his own choice;
(10) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of any provisions of this section … to the extent that the law in question authorises the taking during a period of public emergency of measures that are reasonably justifiable for the purpose of dealing with the situation that exists before or during that period of public emergency.
29. Public emergency.
(2) The President may issue a Proclamation of a state of public emergency only when—
a. Sierra Leone is at war; [or]
b. Sierra Leone is in imminent danger of invasion or involvement in a state of war; or
c. there is actual breakdown of public order and public safety in the whole of Sierra Leone or any part thereof to such an extent as to require extraordinary measures to restore peace and security; or
d. there is a clear and present danger of an actual breakdown of public order and public safety in the whole of Sierra Leone or any part thereof requiring extraordinary measures to avert the same; or
e. there is an occurrence of imminent danger, or the occurrence of any disaster or natural calamity affecting the community or a section of the community in Sierra Leone; or
f. there is any other public danger which clearly constitutes a threat to the existence of Sierra Leone.
(5) During a period of public emergency, the President may make such regulations and take such measures as appear to him to be necessary or expedient for the purpose of maintaining and securing peace, order and good government in Sierra Leone or any part thereof.
Sierra Leone’s Geneva Conventions Act (2012) states:
5. Notice of trial.
(1) A court shall not try a protected prisoner of war or a protected internee unless it is satisfied that the protecting power and the legal representative of the prisoner of war or internee have been given at least twenty-one days notice of the trial by the prosecutor.
7. Legal representative.
(1) The court before which a person is brought for trial for an offence under this Act shall not proceed with the trial unless
(a) that person is represented by a legal practitioner; and
(b) it is proved to the satisfaction of the court that a period of not less than fourteen days has elapsed since instructions to represent the accused person were given to the legal practitioner.
(2) Where the accused is a protected prisoner of war, in the absence of a legal practitioner accepted by the accused as representing him, a legal practitioner instructed for the purpose on behalf of the protecting power shall, without prejudice to the requirements of paragraph (b) of subsection 1[,] be regarded for the purposes of that subsection as representing the accused.
(3) Where the court adjourns a trial because the accused person is not represented, the court shall appoint a legal practitioner to represent the accused.