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Lungi Murder Trial

…Defence pleads ‘spiritual insanity’

By Hawa Amara

Defence counsel for the Lungi murder accused, Ishmael Philip Mammie, last week applied for a stay of prosecution on ground that the accused person was spiritually possessed by evil spirits and appealed to the court for a 30 days hiatus to allow her treatment and recuperation

Mammie Esq., claimed that relatives have intimated him the accused (Fatmata Tucker) had grappled with attacks from spiritual forces since she was a kid, and that family members had taken her to several churches and spiritual healers, but to no avail, especially when she is in a heterosexual relationship.

He said he was informed that whenever the accused is possessed by the evil forces, the accused would have to be bound by six or more strong men to pacify her violent physical outbursts.

He said the alleged evil spiritual forces had severally attacked and embarrassed the accused in public, and that the phenomenon became frequent whenever men are seen around her, thus submitting that the accused was not fit to stand trial.

However, lead prosecution counsel, Principal State Counsel Monfred Sesay, replied that the court does not deal with spiritualism, and that the defence of ‘spiritual insanity’ cannot be an excuse to prevent the trial of the accused.

In his ruling, Magistrate Komba Kamanda concurred with the prosecution and declared: “I therefore dismiss the application of the defense and continue with the matter since it is preliminary investigation.”

Meanwhile, a host of prosecution witnesses in the on-going murder trial told the court the accused had confessed to that she killed her boyfriend.

While testifying in court, first Prosecution Witness 1, PW1, Mohamed Lamin Kamara, a pupil of St. Joseph’s Secondary School in Lungi, told the court that the accused and deceased checked into a room at the Suffian Guest House at No. 115 Airport Ferry Road, Lungi, on the night of the fatal killing.

He explained that the deceased later booked another single room for his friend. He said the deceased later returned with his friend at midnight and entered his room, where his girlfriend (the accused) was waiting.

“I locked the door and handed over the key to the owner of the Guest House and went to sleep at the sitting room,” he testified, and added “While I was sleeping I heard a sound at the door and I then opened my eyes and saw the accused trying to open the door. I asked her where she was going and I pointed my phone light on her and I saw blood all over her body. I asked what had done wrong with her and she replied that ‘I have killed my boyfriend’.

“I immediately woke up aunt Zainab (the owner of the guest house) and informed her about the incident and she immediately gave me the main key to the door and (I) went outside and informed one Superintendent of Police about the incident and the accused was arrested,” he said.

He said superintendent and one James took the accused to a nearby hut where they identified wound marks on her stomach. The accused was later taken to hospital and the remains of the body were conveyed to the hospital, the witness further testified.

According to Prosecution Witness 2, Zainab Sesay, owner of the Suffian Guest House, the deceased and accused came to the Guest House on the night of 5 April, 2014 and booked a room which both of them occupied.

She told the court the deceased later returned to the front desk to book a single room for his brother, both of whom left the accused in the room and went outside.

“I then told them that I will be sleeping before they return and informed them to take the cell phone number of PW 1 so that he could open the door for them when they arrive,” she said, before adding that at 2am PW1 gave the key and informed her that the deceased and his brother had returned, but at around 5am PW 1 knocked on her door and told her there was a big problem at the Guest House.

“I opened the door and saw the accused in a pool of blood and I asked her what was wrong with her and why there was blood spill all over her body and she replied that ‘I have killed my boyfriend’. I went to my room and took the key for the main door and I opened. I then called PW 1 to call Superintendent Francess Tawah and James to arrest the accused,” she said.

She said that at 6am the Guest House compound was full with police personnel and the body of the deceased was conveyed to the hospital.

Also, PW 3, Lamin Kamara, a driver, said the deceased was his brother and the accused a girlfriend of the deceased and that they had dated for a year.

He said on 5 April, 2014, he was at Pepel when the deceased called him on his mobile phone and told him to meet him at Lungi.

“The deceased then told me that I would stay with him till the next morning unto his travel. The deceased later asked me to go for a walk together with the accused person,” he said.

He said at 5 am the security woke him up and informed him that the accused has blood all over her body and she was lying on the ground, adding that “I wanted to enter into the room of the deceased but the police personnel prevented entry and called for more police at Lungi police station. The police then came and we entered the room of the deceased and found that he was not lying on the bed and there was blood all over the room.”

He said: “I then turned round in the direction of the birth room and the deceased was lying on the ground with a cut on his head and back. The police then wanted to know whether the deceased was alive and turned him over and I saw a big cut on his neck. I ran outside and I went unconscious,” he said, and that “After I recovered, I went to the police station to make a statement and informed the other family members in Freetown about the incident.”

The accused was arraigned on one count of murder contrary to the law of Sierra Leone, being the alleged killer of Saidu Bangura, a former telecoms engineer for the UN Mission in Somalia.

The matter is prosecuted by Monfred S. Sesay, A.G.M. Bockarie, A.V. Koroma and A. Z. Bangura.

The trial continues.