March 25, 2020
By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Justice Simeon Alliue presiding at the corruption trial of former High Court Master and Registrar, Stephen Yayah Mansaray and three others, has set March 31st as the day he would rule on the objection made by lawyer J.B Dauda for an amendment to be made on the particulars of offense in count 6, 7, 8 and 9 of the charges.
At the last adjourned date, the Anti-corruption Commission Persecutor, Joel Tejan Deen-Tarawalie, made an application for removal and replacement of dates on the particulars of offense in counts 6, 7, 8 and 9 of the charges, citing Section 148(1) of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1965 as a defense.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) had filed eighteen counts indictment against Stephen Yayah Mansaray former High Court Master and Registrar, Richie Edwin Asgil, former Principal Accountant in the Judiciary; Adele Faya, former Account Clerk of the Judiciary; and Clarence Solomon Will, Assistant at a Law Firm in Freetown for alleged misappropriation of four hundred and sixty million, two hundred and sixty-eight thousand, and two hundred Leones (Le460, 268,200/00) from the Judiciary’s Master and Registrar Account, domiciled at the Bank of Sierra Leone contrary to Section 36(1) of ACC Act 2008. .
Lawyer J.B Dauda, who is representing the 3rd accused, Adele Faya, submitted that the application for amendment was not within the provision and jurisdiction of Section 148(1) of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1965, noting that the provision gives permission for such amendment to be utilized when an indictment is infective.
He further submitted that the application lacks merit and that the judge should not countenance the application, noting that such amendment is only applicable if it does not impose any injustice to the accused person.
He submitted that the prosecutor only made the application after the accused persons were arraigned, witnesses testified and cross-examined.
He added that the witnesses have also been confronted with the issue of dates in both examination in chef and cross-examination.
He submitted that the amendment sought would cause grave injustice to the proceedings and his client, if granted and that it would change the substance of the offences as stated in the indictment.
While responding to the defence counsel, the ACC Prosecutor pleaded with the judge to give him greenlight for the amendments, adding that it would not create any injustice to the 3rd accused or seek new indictment.
He also submitted that the amendments sought are not in respect of any new facts rather than those that have been adduced already in court, noting that such application can be made at any stage and at any time during the cause of the trial.
The judge adjourned the matter to Tuesday 31st March for ruling.