By Hassan G. Koroma
Magistrate Komba Kamanda of the Freetown Magistrates’ Court No.2 was in a mood not particularly pleasant last Friday, as he directed his venom at indolent police prosecutors who habitually fail to produce witnesses to testify in matters as serious as robbery.
The hardworking magistrate observed that when cases of robbery and other serious offences are charged to court, most often than not, accused persons are denied bail notwithstanding several appearances, and that the prosecution would usually not provide witnesses until a couple of appearances, during which the accused will be languishing in prison. He described the practice as bad and unkind to accused persons and justice in general.
He said that while the accused are kept in prison the blame is cast on the magistrate, because many are oblivious of the fact that the prosecution should take the blame for failure to produce witnesses to testify in court.
Magistrate Kamanda was reacting after the matter of one Alex Kemoh Silla and seven others, arraigned on store breaking, was announced but had to be adjourned because the police prosecution could not produce a witness to commence proceedings, albeit the accused were making their second appearance and have been remanded at the Pademba Road prison since November.
According to the particulars of offence, the accused persons are alleged to have broken into the warehouse of Angelina International Company at Kissy Dockyard on 23rd November, 2013 and stolen properties worth Le387,116,000 (three hundred and eighty-seven million, one hundred and sixteen thousand Leones).
The matter continues.