By Kabs Kanu
The Sierra Leone Police had no business searching the home of former Social Affairs Minister, Dr. Sylvia Blyden in the manner it was conducted. Nor did they have any right to seize anything from the home. Taking her large framed photo of President Ernest Koroma was daylight robbery.
As a general rule in all constitutions, citizens are protected from illegal searches and seizures.
The Police should have obtained a search warrant from a neutral and non- political judge or magistrate., though in Sierra Leone today, it is difficult to find a judge or magistrate not tainted by partisan politics or not being errand boys and girls for the government. There should have been judicial approval for the search and seizures.
The Police should have demonstrated probable cause while securing the warrant that Sylvia Blyden had committed a crime. They should have also demonstrated probable cause that contraband or instruments of crime would have been found in the home. The Police should have demonstrated some quantum of evidence about the crime and the contraband.
Based on the evidence provided, the judge would have then considered the specificity of what was to have been searched for or the particularity of what was to have been seized. The fact that the Police took away an innocent photo frame of President Koroma was ample evidence that the law was not followed. Sylvia Blyden can file a criminal case against the Police for burglary and stealing the photo
These are the dangers we are faced with in Sierra Leone today under President.Maada Bio. There is no respect for the constitution, the rule of law or the fundamental legal and human rights of citizens and foreigners living within our borders..
The government cannot use the state of emergency as alibi for its actions because the state of emergency in force is for a health emergency—The coronavirus pandemic—not because the security of the nation is threatened by political unrest.
Therefore, everything done by the Police at the home of the former minister was illegal and unconstitutional.