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Chief testifies in Tombo riot case

May 29, 2020

By Regina Pratt

Chief of Tombo Village, Michael Benga, on Wednesday testified before Magistrate Hannah Bonnie presiding at the Pademba Road court on what he knew and saw on May 6 when irate youth allegedly set ablaze the police station and health center.

He told the court that he recognised all accused persons and recalled Wednesday May 6, 2020, whilst at home listening to news, he saw a huge crowd coming from the beach end, shouting that they were going to burn somewhere.

The witness said he later saw smoke coming out from the police station and the crowd then proceeded to his house and started pelting stones at him and his house, but that he was rescued by security personnel.

He said even though the police were trying to escort him, he overheard the accused persons saying that they were going to cut-off his head on the allegation that he was the one that stopped them from going out  fishing.

The witness told the court that he was taken to the Criminal Investigation Department Headquarters where he made statement to the police

The witness was cross examined by defense counsel, M. Thorley, who also made an application for bail on behalf of all accused persons, but the prosecutor objected.

However, Magistrate Bonnie overruled the objection and granted each accused persons Le200 million bail with two sureties each in like sum, adding that each of the sureties should be gainfully employed and residents in Freetown or Tombo.

The magistrate said one of the sureties should be property owner and the bail should be approved by Master and Register

The accused persons were charged with 5 counts of conspiracy, malicious damages, setting fire on public buildings to grievous bodily harm contrary to law.

The matter was adjourned to Tuesday June 2, 2020.