January 12, 2018 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
The frequent absence of jurors in the Hannah Bockarie murder trial involving two accused persons may cause undue delay, warned Justice John Bosco Alieu.
After the controversial killing of Hannah Bockarie on 14th August 2015 at Aberdeen-Lumley Beach, police arrested Mohamed Lamin Kamara and Paul Corn and subsequently arraigned them on two counts of conspiracy and murder contrary to the laws of Sierra Leone.
State prosecutors allege that the duo, who have spent almost three years on remand, conspired together with unknown individuals to murder and murdered Hannah Bockarie.
Ms. Bockarie’s death sparked huge public outcry after her naked body was discovered on the beach on 14th August 2015. Female activists, human rights groups and officials of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children Affairs staged a peaceful protest to register their dissatisfaction over the spate of violence against women and girls in society.
In 2017, a protected witness told the court that at around 3a.m., she was going towards Family Kingdom together with a friend when a van of police officers chased and tried to apprehend them, but she escaped and hid behind a bar run by the first accused.
She said that while in hiding, she overheard the deceased shouting in the bar, groaning that they would kill her. She said she informed her friend about the incident but didn’t treat it with seriousness.
The witness further testified that she returned to the scene to confirm the incident but couldn’t raise alarm because nobody was at the beach at that moment to rescue her.
“The deceased shouted until her voice faded away. I later saw the first accused come outside with a tattered cloth and looked around to know if there were people outside. I managed to leave the scene and went towards Aces Night Club, where I met some men drinking alcohol. I explained the incident to one Mr. Gandi, but he did not treat it with seriousness,” she testified.
She said that the remains of the deceased was found at the beach the following morning and that she went to the scene but didn’t say a word to the police for fear of being arrested.
She concluded that it was Mr. Gandi who told the police that she knew everything about the incident, prompting her arrest and detention at the Aberdeen Police Station, where she was interrogated and made a statement.
Meanwhile, the prosecution had applied to recall a witness to give certain evidence that was left out, but they informed the court that the witness was nowhere to be found.
The matter continues.