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Sierra Leone News: Chief Justice steps down, Justice Edwards appointed

On Wednesday 19 December 2018, the Chief Justice of Sierra Leone, Justice Abdulai Hamid Charm resigned his position as head of the Judiciary. State House confirmed the resignation and immediately appointed Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards as Chief Justice. Justice Hamid Charm was nominated as Chief Justice by the then President Ernest Bai Koroma on 28 December 2015 to succeed the retired Chief Justice Umu Hawa Tejan Jalloh. His appointment was approved by Parliament on 15 January 2016 and he was sworn in as Sierra Leone Chief Justice on 21 January 2016. The 56-year old, Abdulai Hamid Charm, was born 20 July 1962 in Kambia in the Northern Province of Sierra Leone, and was not due for retirement anytime soon. His early departure has prompted questions as to whether he was pushed out of office for political expediency. Charm studied at FBC, where he was awarded a Bachelor of Laws with Honours in 1990 and was called to the Bar in October 1991 after attending the Sierra Leone Law School. He also studied Human Rights and Democratization in Africa at the University of Pretoria, South Africa in 2000. Under his regime as head of the judiciary, there were several landmark and controversial judgements including: the bigamy trial between Alie Kabba and the former APC Minister of Lands, Diana Konomanyi, the two-day sentence of a 70 years old man for sexual penetration. Also for the first time High Court Judges were appointed to all the regions.     A release from the Office of the President, informed that the President had accepted his resignation and in view of the vacancy created by the resignation and pursuant to Section 70 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone 1991 (Act No.6 of 1991), the President announced Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards, JA as the appointed Chief Justice subject to Parliamentary approval.

MJB/19/12/18

By Mohamed J. Bah

Thursday December 20, 2018.

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