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Absence of juror impedes ruling in murder trial

By Hawa Amara

The unexplained absence of a juror in the murder trial of former Anti-Corruption Commission staffer, Fatmata Finda Bangura, left state prosecutors with no option but to ask for an adjournment.

The accused is alleged to have murdered her husband, late Assistant Superintendent of Police Hassan Samuel Bangura at their Aberdeen police barracks residence on 26 May 2012, and was arraigned on one count of murder contrary to the law of Sierra Leone.

State counsel A.G.M. Bockarie told the court the jurors lack quorum because of the absence of juror Omoh C. Doherty, and asked for an adjourned date, when it is hoped the latter will avail himself in court.

However, defence counsel H.M. Gevao expressed disappointment as he was expecting a fully empanelled jury on the date set for the verdict to be delivered.

He said the absence of the juror left him feeling someone wanted to play foul.

Justice Samuel Margai of the Freetown High Court pleaded with the jurors to endeavour to be present at the next adjourned date to return their verdict.

Justice Margai noted that the jurors have come a long way since the start of the trial, and enjoined them to be in court so that the trial would be brought to closure.

The accused could face the death penalty or life imprisonment if found guilty, although there is an official moratorium on the death penalty in Sierra Leone.