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Judge orders bench warrant for juror

By Hassan G. Koroma

Juror A.K. Vandi is in hot waters after Justice M.A. Paul of the Freetown High Court No.2 yesterday ordered a bench warrant for his arrest, having been twice absent in court.

Vandi is one of the 12 jurors in the ongoing murder trial involving one Christopher Sheriff Kamara, an Operational Support Division Officer (OSD) who allegedly shot and killed Alie Fayandi Koroma, 32, a former police officer and bodyguard to erstwhile Minister of Information and Communications, Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo.

According to foreman of the jurors, Joseph Kawa, Mr. Vandi is an old man who lives far away, just outside Waterloo, and could not travel to attend court on 10 June due to heavy rains.

However, Vandi was again absent in court on 11th June and could not be reached via his mobile phone.

Normally in the High Court, twelve (12) jurors are assigned to observe proceedings by listening to both prosecution and defence witnesses and to make a recommendation to the judge on the matter by way of a finding as to whether the accused is guilty or not guilty. Thus a trial, not least for murder, would not hold if any juror is absent.

The defence had opened its case with the first defence witness, the accused, testifying as to what transpired on the day of the incident.

The matter was then adjourned for cross-examination, which is yet to go ahead due to the absence of the said juror.

The accused, Christopher Sheriff Kamara, is arraigned on one count charge of murder contrary to the law of Sierra Leone.

The prosecution alleges that on 10th June 2013 at Casino Leone at Aberdeen in Freetown, the accused Christopher Sheriff Kamara shot dead one Alie Fayandi Koroma.