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31 Jan 2018

Martyn Day and Liberty Bridge. Leigh Day

How Sierra Leonean farmers got their day in Court

...The Claimants allege that the mine owners instructed the Sierra Leonean police force to use excessive violence to quell both these otherwise peaceful protests. The allegations include that they were shot, beaten, arbitrarily arrested, subject to sexual violence and tortured.

The Defendants deny these allegations. 

...The 6 week trial is taking place in both London and Sierra Leone. Mr. Justice Turner will travel to Sierra Leone for weeks 2 and 3 of the trial where he will sit as a Special Examiner.

Civil Procedure Rule 34.13 provides for the appointment of a Special Examiner. This rule makes provision for when a party wishes to take evidence from a witness who does not reside in the UK. 

...The majority of the [claimants'] visas were subsequently rejected and so the Special Examiner appointment proceeded. Permission had to be requested from the Sierra Leone government...

...It is a credit to the UK judicial system - so often called the 'gold standard' - that persons from anywhere in the world and any background can get their day in court in pursuit of justice against a UK based company, and on an equal footing to a billion dollar mining-giant.

Part of the following timelines

United Kingdom High Court judge to hear victims in Sierra Leone in landmark case of mining company's alleged complicity in police crackdown

Tonkolili Iron Ore lawsuit (re complicity in violence against villagers in Sierra Leone)