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“Attorney General was misguided to charge me”

-Dr. Blyden tells court

June 15, 2020

By Regina Pratt

Police explain why they arrested Sylvia Blyden – Cocorioko

Dr. Sylvia Blyden, who is before Magistrate Hanna Bonnie to answer to nine counts of defamation and seditious libel, has told the court that, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice was ‘misguided’ to have charged her ‘wrongly’.

“The AG was misguided to charge me with count 7, Seditious Libel, using Section 33 (1) (b) of the Public Order Act No. 46 of 1965,” she argued, adding that count 7 is ineffective as far as the laws are concern.

She applied for count 7 in the indictment to be thrown out as the charges under Section 33 1b of the Public order Act No. 46 of 1965, was wrong.

She argued that Section 34 of the same Act made it clear that ‘No prosecution for an offence under section 33 shall be begun except within six months after the offence is committed,’ thus citing the date on count 7-20th October, 2018.

The accused made the statement on Friday, June 12, 2020, whilst cross examining the first prosecution witness, Superintendent Mohamed K. Alieu for the third time after the latter had finished his evidence-in-chief on June 3rd.

Dr. Blyden, who continues to represent herself, asked the witness if he had seen any of the utterances they considered defamatory from the information found on the gadgets, the witness answered in the affirmative.

The witness also told the court that he suggested the charges to the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice.

The witness, however, told the court that they did not use individuals for their investigations, but probed the electronic devices.

The accused person then asked the witness as to whether they had any statement from the President because counts 4, 5, 6 and 7 stated that she defamed the President, but the witness replied that no statement was taken from the President.

“We considered the evidences of defamation from the investigations and talking to the President is irrelevant. There is no rule for an investigator to go beyond and that a prudent investigator cannot guess. This is not a matter of complainant but we acted upon evidences,’’ said the witness.

State counsel, Y.I. Sesay, who is representing the IG, said the application made by the 1st accused was not appropriate, adding that any objection of such nature should have been taken when the charges were read to the accused and not when PW1 has started testifying.

He further stated that in a preliminary investigation, whether the charges are erroneous or otherwise, there is always an opportunity for the accused to make a no case submission, noting that the 1st accused was charged with 9 counts of similar offences which makes no differences.

He further said that they viewed such application as a ploy to waste the court’s time, thus urging the magistrate to discountenance it

But Magistrate Bonnie replied that she will withdraw the file and give e ruling on the next adjourned date- Wednesday, 17th June, 2020.

In another application, counsel for the 2nd accused, Melron Nicol-Wilson, cited Section 59 1 of the Criminal Procedure Act No 32 of 1965-restitution of property in respect of the 2nd accused’s two laptops taken during the investigations.

He appealed to the court that those laptops contain some materials for the 2nd accused, who is an engineering student and that the prosecution should surrender them if they were not in need of those two laptops.

But State Counsel, La Y.I. Sesay, argued that the application was premature.

The matter was adjourned to Wednesday, June 17, 2020.