Absence of juror impedes murder trial


August 1, 2018

By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

The absence of one juror in the ongoing trial of eight accused persons who allegedly murdered the former President of the Pharmaceutical Board Association, Adeyemi Justin Patrick Johnson, has caused some delay in the High Court of Sierra Leone, presided over by Justice Sam Margai.

Alakeh Olive Johnson, Umaru Majid Cole, Edward Joseph Moijueh, John Turay, Abdul Rashid Jalloh, Tommy Joseph, Alie Conteh and Chernor Bah, are charged with the alleged murder of Adeyemi Justin Patrick Johnson on November 12th 2012 at Old Railway Line, Wilberforce, west of Freetown.

They were also charged with conspiracy to commit murder, larceny and arson, contrary to the laws of Sierra Leone.

Alakeh Johnson, wife of Adeyemi J. P. Johnson, lived close to the house which was allegedly set ablaze on 12th November 2012, and she was suspected to have orchestrated the fire incident with the aid of the others.

Police reports stated that on the day of the incident, she contacted the other six accused persons via mobile phone, commanding and instructing them to murder the deceased at his Wilberforce residence in Freetown.

Addressing the State Prosecutor yesterday in court, Justice Margai said he had issued a bench warrant for the arrest of one Tejan George, the missing juror in the case, but that noting has been done to enforce the warrant.

The Judge said the court had empanelled two set of jurors for the trial, but that they continue facing challenges in getting them attend the trial.

According to State Prosecutor I. Kanneh, they have tried their best to get hold of the said juror but it was proving difficult and pleaded with the Bench to grant him time to locate the said juror.

He said the disappearance of the juror does not only have effect on the prosecution but on the accused persons as well, noting that had the juror been present, the trial would have ended.

Defending Counsel for all accused persons, Festus B. Conteh Esq., made an application pursuant to section 175 of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1965, for a fresh juror to be drafted.

The matter was adjourned to 7th August for further hearing.