By Augustine Sorie-Sengbe Marrah
Her name echoes through the legal profession. Pamela Davies is renowned for being uncompromising and a woman of lavish integrity. In Sierra Leone, more often than not, when an individual (public servant/officer) is said to be a difficult person’, it just means that they do not bend the rules or are opposed to a parallel system set up either for greed or political interests. In October 2019, the former Attorney-General (Dr Priscilla Schwartz) by sheer abuse of authority, unlawfully instructed Ms Davies (then acting Director of the Law School) to proceed on leave, after she lawfully defied unlawful instructions. Despite several protests by many lawyers and even the Bar Association, in the stubbornness of her unlawfulness, the outgone AG refused to pay heed to the many good counsels and shamelessly clutched to her unjust decision.
Two investigations followed in simultaneity and Ms Davies, the one who’s stood for the integrity and ideals of the law school institution, the one who would stay up late at night for several hours (sometimes with the aid of her Chinese light) to meticulously ensure the accuracy of the law school results, was now being falsely accused of breaching the integrity of the Bar final examinations which she’d always protected even at risk to health and person. The CID in their usual over-hasty to kowtow to political sentiments sprang into action with jumbo-jet-esque speed. They appeared to have almost a preconceived mind-set that they were just going to piece together evidence to prosecute a delinquent woman. They searched for many weeks for what never existed and at the end of the day, much to their chagrin, they produced an exonerating report (very atypical of the police!). In a similar vein, the findings of the committee set up by the Chief Justice, headed by the Hon. Justice Miatta Samba JA did not reveal any faults on the part of Ms Davies.
This is the true story of Pamela Davies; but this is also the story of some people who have to endure false accusations, intimidations, harassment and outrageous bullying in the civil/public service or government institutions for standing up for the truth and for insisting on doing the right things or doing things the right way. For more than a year, Ms Davies continues to stay at home on leave; her accusers have run out of devices to crucify her. They sure are bereft of any whiff of evidence to prosecute or condemn her but they have not run out of energy and resolve to oppress her in silence. Almost a year on, patriarchy continues to bully one of the most upstanding and highly principled in the legal profession. The legal fraternity is silent about it; dare touch a man of integrity and high morals in the law profession, his comrades would be up in arms to protect him. This is not the same for women who challenge or stand up to patriarchal systems based on principles or legal or moral considerations. They are left for dead in silence; maybe, just maybe, it is because we were erroneously taught that there are no ladies at the Bar.
About the Author
Augustine Sorie-sengbe Marrah is a leading civil and commercial litigator, top constitutional expert, and democracy activist. He graduated top of the class from the Sierra Leone Law School in 2009 and has been in legal practice for over ten years. He spent his first seven years of practice in Sierra Leone’s leading law firm—Yada Williams and Associates. He has offered ranging legal and consultancy services to top corporate/commercial entities, national and international human rights and charitable institutions, and highly distinguished individuals. He has litigated a few international commercial arbitrations before the London Court of International Arbitration and the International Chamber of Commerce Arbitration Court.
Augustine served as secretary of the regulatory body for lawyers in Sierra Leone (General Legal Council) and its disciplinary committee for two consecutive years. He is a member of the Sierra Leone Bar Association, the International Bar Association, and the Commonwealth Lawyers Association. He currently runs his law firm in Sierra Leone—Marrah & Associates.