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HomeLocal NewsCARL, Partners Push for the Decriminalization of Petty Offences

CARL, Partners Push for the Decriminalization of Petty Offences

By FayiaMoseray

It is evident that the country’s law books like the Criminal Procedure Act of 1965 and the Public Order Act of 1965 criminalize offences such as loitering, debts etc. Against this backdrop, the Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL) and its partners have on Monday 12th December, 2021 held a roundtable discussion on the subject-matter. The discussion which took place at the Centre’s Conference Room on Circular Road, Freetown brought together personalities from the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRC-SL), Law Reform Commission (LRC), AdvocAid Sierra Leone (AdvocAidSL) and the Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL) essentially to chat the way forward on how to push for the decriminalization of petty offences in the country. Dr. GassomAbess is a Human Rights Commissioner at the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone; in his statement notes that the decriminalization of petty offences is important, adding that a lot of people have suffered in jail because of petty offences. He said that they are going to do their very best to making sure that petty offences, such as traffic offences, loitering and debts are removed from the criminal category. He expressed hope of making sure that petty offences are decriminalized. Ibrahim Tommy, Esq. – Executive Director of CARL said that the importance to decriminalize petty offences can’t be overemphasized, adding that petty offences do not need to be treated as criminal offences. He said that CARL will do everything possible to ensure that petty offences like loitering and traffic offences are deleted from the criminal law books. He revealed that a lot of people have been through punishments they should not go through because certain petty offences are considered as criminal offences. He noted that the criminalization of petty offences leads to more burden in correctional facilities. He expressed willingness to do his best to making sure that petty offences are decriminalized. A representative (Mr. Kargbo) from the Law Reform Commission expressed similar sentiments with other speakers on how to push for the decriminalization of petty offences. He noted that if petty offences are decriminalized it will help reduce overcrowding in correctional facilities in the country, especially in Freetown. He pledged his commitment to making sure that the call for the decriminalization of petty offences is heard.

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