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After Ten years in prison without trial…

Accused makes maiden High Court appearance   

June 20, 2018

By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

Over fifteen accused persons standing trial on various counts in different files, on Monday, June 18th made their maiden appearance in the Freetown High Court presided over by Justice Reginald Fynn.

They had spent almost ten years in prison without trial.

One of the accused persons, Unisa Ibrahim Jalloh, was charged in 2011 with embezzlement of Le196,000,000 (one hundred and ninety six million Leones). He had not appeared in the High Court to answer to the charge since the completion of preliminary investigation at the magistrate court.

According to Mr. Jalloh, he was granted bail in the sum of Le200,000,000 (two hundred million Leones) plus two sureties with title deeds in Freetown at the Magistrate Court, but failed to meet the bail condition.

Also, Mohamed Kamara and John Ngekia aka Sunshine, told the court that they were charged with the offence of burglary and house breaking in 2006, and that they have been in prison at the Pademba Road Correctional Centre without their case being heard in court.

When Justice Fynn asked the first accused whether he has anybody or people to bail him, he replied that he has relative in Freetown.

He told the judge he is now a changed man and that he would not ask one of his ‘bad friends’ to bail him because he wouldn’t want to associate with them any longer.

In the same court, Mohamed Sampay Koroma, Morris Kamara and Fredrick Palmer explained that they were arrested onboard a fishing vessel in Guiana in November 2008 and brought to Freetown.

They narrated that they have since been locked up at the Pademba Road Correctional Centre without trial.

Brima Nabiu and Kenie Amadu Saffa, both-fairly elderly, who spoke in Mende and needed an interpreter, told the court that they were arrested in 2015 for the offense of conspiracy and murder but that their case had not been mentioned in the High Court while they languished in jail.

Many other accused persons explained similar ordeals of how they have been abandoned at the Male Correctional Centre in Freetown without their matter being mentioned in the High Court for trial.

Meanwhile, Justice Fynn granted bail to all the accused persons and adjourned their respective matters to 25th June.