Defense says former Registrar should be acquitted and discharged
August 10, 2015
Defense Counsel representing former Registrar of the Sierra Leone Law School, J.B. Jenkins-Johnston, said last Friday at the Freetown High Court that the indictment against the accused was hopeless and bad in law, and urged the judge to acquit and discharge his client.
Mr. Herbert Ezekiel Davids-Cole was indicted by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) last year after the infamous Law School saga which led to at least fifty newly called-to-the-Bar lawyers disbarred because of alleged irregularities.
But his defence counsel argued last Friday, 7 August, that the charges should be dropped against the accused as they are “hopeless and bad in law.”
Jenkins-Johnston said the burden of proof of each charge rest on the prosecutor and that it is for the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused.
“I therefore submit that the prosecutor has failed hopelessly as they have not correctly indicted the accused. The accused did just not just got up at his own volition and add marks for the students, but he did it with the instruction of other examiners,” said the defence counsel.
He thus urged trial judge, Justice Alusine Sesay, to look closely into the evidence before him as the accused was indicted for no good reason and that the evidence is insufficient to convict him, adding that he should be acquitted and discharged so that his dignity will be restored.
However, ACC prosecutor, Abdul Raman Mansaray countered that evidence before the court was sufficient to convict the accused as a public officer who changed marks for the students at the Law School while he was registrar.
He said the third prosecution witness and members of the Council of Legal Education had testified in court that the accused indeed added marks for students he sympathised with, and that the evidence was not challenged throughout the trial.
He submitted that the accused deceived other Council members by singularly adding marks for some students, while he was register and examiner at the Law School and working as agent for the Council.
He said the accused had admitted before the then Chief Justice, Hon. Umu Hawa Tejan-Jalloh, that he added marks for students, adding that he told ACC investigators that the marks on examination scripts were different from those in the spreadsheet, which was prepared by the accused.
The ACC prosecutor concluded that the evidence before the court was both oral and documentary and that they were overwhelming, thus urging the court to convict the accused.
Justice Sesay said he would serve notices on both parties for ruling, but he didn’t state a time.