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Sep 30, 2009

Bar Association discuss motion to remove Justice Samuel Awich

Story PictureThe Bar Association met on Tuesday night to discuss a proposal by some members who want Justice Samuel Awich to resign for misbehavior primarily because of the length of time his rulings have been reserved in several cases. According to association members, there were heated exchanges at the meeting, but by the end of the session, the bar deferred the proposal to seek the removal of Justice Awich. This afternoon, Aldo Salazar, President of the Bar, said that timely judgments have been an issue on the table for some time with the judiciary. That aside, News Five also discussed with Salazar the retirement at age six-five of Chief Justice Abdulai Conteh.

Aldo Salazar, President, Bar Association
“What happened is that there was a requisition for a meeting at which the resolution which you aired the contents would have been proposed for consideration and discussion by the membership. So it’s not a matter that the membership had already decided upon. It is a matter which some of the members of the Bar had proposed for discussion by the general membership of the Bar. So what happened is that that issue came up for discussion yesterday, last night and it was discussed and it was decided that voting on that resolution would be deferred to another date. The view of the majority of the association that those actions are last resort and therefore we have taken steps to try and engage discussions with the judiciary about some of the things that concern us and the judiciary on a whole and we want to establish a committee to liaise with the judiciary so as to prevent any issues arising between the Bar and the judiciary.”

Jose Sanchez
“When it comes to succession, when it comes to the Chief Justice almost at the point of retiring, how does the succession actually work?”

Aldo Salazar
“That’s an interesting question because the issue of the—well first of all, the Chief Justice reaches retirement age at sixty-five I think next year. That doesn’t mean that he has to retire. There is a provision in the Constitution where he can be extended until seventy-five years. He may choose to ask for that extension prior to his birthday. If he wishes, he may do so. So it shouldn’t be said that he has to retire next year because he doesn’t have to if he chooses to go on and if he is renewed. But the issue of succession itself, if the chief justice decides not to continue as chief justice, there is no set method for selection of a successor to the chief justice. There is no body in place which adopts certain steps that have been predetermined for selection. Basically, it is up to government to propose a person to fill the vacancy.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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