December 17, 2015 By Hawa Amara
Magistrate Komba Kamanda Tuesday remanded thirty-three accused persons that were charged by the police for riotous conduct during popular local artist Dennis Amara Turay aka Kao Denero’s album launch at the National Stadium on Saturday, 12 December.
The men were also before the court for unlawful possession of cannabis, disorderly behaviour, unlawful possession of weapons, and loitering with intent contrary to the laws of Sierra Leone.
Magistrate Kamanda said any country needs law and order and vowed to clampdown on indiscipline and lawlessness. He said gangsterism was becoming a norm in society and that the court ought to set a precedent to send a stern warning to the general public.
The first and second accused persons, Foday Momoh Kamara and Saidu Dumbuya, were caught at Syke Street with cannabis sativa, while third accused Mustapha Kalokoh was found in possession of a knife with black handle.
The rest of the accused persons were charged with loitering with intent to disturb public order on the night of the show, which abruptly ended after police clashed with youths both inside and outside the national stadium.
Eighteen of the accused persons pleaded guilty, with fifteen entering ‘not guilty’ pleas.
Assistant Superintendent of Police Samuel Kamara, who is prosecutor, applied for the matter to be adjourned because only the Exhibit Clerk was present in court to serve as witness.
The thirty-three accused persons are represented by F.B. Conteh, C.F. Edwards, A. Conteh, U. Samura, C. Campbell and J.M. Jengo.
Lawyer F.B. Conteh applied for bail on behalf of the accused persons who pleaded ‘not guilty’, citing section 79 (2) and (3) of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1965 as authority. He urged the magistrate to strongly consider the presumption of innocence, according to section 23 (4) of the country’s constitution, until the accused are proved guilty, as the charges against them were mere allegations.
In response, the prosecutor said he was opposed to bail being granted to the accused persons as the Constitution of Sierra Leone 1991 preaches peace and tranquillity and that the stability of the nation was paramount.
The prosecutor called on the magistrate to send a signal to “those out there that might want to commit similar offences especially this Xmas”.
The magistrate ruled in favour of the prosecution and sent all the accused persons, including those who pleaded guilty, on remand at the Male Correctional Centre on Pademba Road.
The matter was adjourned until 22 December.