November 16, 2017 By Joseph S. Margai
Lead defence Counsel for the National Publicity Secretary of the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), Lahai Lawrence Leema, yesterday told Concord Times in a mobile phone interview that they have filed papers in the High Court seeking bail for their client.
Lawyer Hindolo M. Gavao could not ascertain the Judge that would handle the application, but stated that the motion would be heard today in the Freetown High Court.
The SLPP National Publicity Secretary was denied bail and remanded at the Male Correctional Centre in Freetown on his maiden appearance in court on seven count charges of trespass and using abusive language.
Magistrate Albert J. Moody, presiding at the Siaka Stevens Street Magistrates’ Court No.1, ordered his incarceration until the return date on Friday, 17 November.
But defence lawyers have used subsection 5 of Section 79 of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1965 to apply to the High Court seeking the release of their client on bail.
The said subsection 5 states that: “A Judge may, if he thinks fit, admit any person to bail although the Court before whom the charge is pending has not thought fit to do so.”
Lawyer Gevao applied for his client to be put on bail, citing subsection 2 of the said section of same Act but his application was turned down by Magistrate Albert Moody.
The opposition spokesman spent a night in detention at the Criminal Investigations Department headquarters Monday night before he was charged on two separate files – five counts and two counts respectively.
Police accused him of assaulting one Franklyn Rogers, Gerald Sesay and Joseph Kowa at the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) newsroom, contrary to the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861.
They also alleged that the youthful Publicity Secretary behaved in a disorderly manner at the SLBC, used threatening language against Joseph Kowa and unlawfully entered the SLBC newsroom without due process.
It could be recalled that the police invited Leema for interrogation after a complaint was made against him by one Joseph Kowa, a staff at the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), on allegations that the former forcefully entered one of their studios, interrupted a programme, and assaulted him and others.
On Monday, 6 November, the SLBC issued a press release alleging that Leema had gatecrashed their New England studios, shouting invectives, demanding a right to reply as Franklyn Rogers, a defector from the opposition who now serves as publicity secretary for the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC), made unsubstantiated claims against standard bearer of the SLPP, Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio.
Accompanied by party stakeholders, Leema went to CID headquarters on Monday and was detained overnight before he appeared in court on Tuesday to answer charges of public order offences.