November 19, 2021
By Jeneba A Conteh
Komba Robert Gbanya, a forty eight years old caterpillar operator and eleven others were before Magistrate Sahr Kekura of the Pademba Road Court No 1.in connection to a riot that took place during the recently concluded by-elections in Sandor Chiefdom, Kono District.
The accused persons pleaded when the charges were put to them.
All accused persons were reported to have conspired to commit a crime, to wit riotous conduct, throwing missiles, forceful entering and malicious damage to the National Electoral Commission (NEC)’s voting materials meant for the local council by-election 2021 at Sandor Chiefdom.
In the police file, most of the accused persons denied the allegations levied against them.
After seeking advice from the office of the Director of Public Prosecution, they were finally charged to court for riotous conduct contrary to Section 12(a) of the Public Order Act No. 46 of 1965.
It was alleged that on Saturday, 13 November, 2021, at Pooling Station Center 03131, Ward 091, Constituency 027, Yaryah Village, Sandor Chiefdom, Kono, the accused persons behaved themselves in a riotous manner.
Making plea mitigation, defense counsel C. Pujeh, sought the Bench’s leave not to impose custodian sentence on his clients, who pleaded guilty without wasting the court’s time.
He said the time they took in police custody had served them a lesson not to get involved in a crime like that anymore.
Submitting further on behalf of his clients, defense counsel brought to the attention of the Bench the present condition of the Correctional Centre, which, according to him, was not conducive. “My Lord, everything happen for a reason and when it happens you learn for it,” defense counsel stated.
Responding to the defense, Magistrate Sahr Kekura said some of them who witnessed the war didn’t want to hear crimes like riotous conduct. He said most of the accused are elderly men who ought not to be involved in things like that.
Defense counsel C. Pujeh assured the court that he will admonish them thoroughly.
Magistrate Sahr Kekura further stated that Kono has been notorious in electioneering process and that in the past election, they almost drove the paramount chief of Nimiyama Chiefdom.
“This country should be peaceful, there are other countries that had held elections without police chasing them,” Magistrate Sahr Kekura.
He said people should have learnt lessons from politicians because they just use and dump them after the process.
The accused persons themselves begged for mercy and further called on the Bench to consider them as first time offenders.
Having heard the plea mitigation from defense counsel and the separate pleas from all accused persons, Magistrate Sahr Kekura fined them the sum of two hundred thousand Leones each or be imprisoned for eight weeks.