December 20, 2017 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Publicity Secretary for the ruling All Peoples Congress in the Southern Region, Franklyn Rogers, yesterday testified before Magistrate Albert J. Moody, presiding at the Siaka Stevens Magistrates’ Court No.1 in the trial of Lahai Lawrence Leema, National Publicity Secretary of the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP.
Rogers, who is one of two complainants in the matter, had sensationally claimed that Leema assaulted him on 6th November at around 8:30a.m. at the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC).
Rogers, who identified himself as a businessman and a politician, told the court that on the day of the alleged incident, SLBC anchors Judith Sannah and Mahawa Allieu telephoned the SLPP Publicity Secretary to react to claims made by him in an interview.
The witness said the accused deviated from the subject-matter and verbally attacked President Ernest Bai Koroma, adding that the latter threatened that if ‘President Koroma wants war in the country they were ready to endorse it.’
The star witness further testified that the interviewers immediately cautioned the accused to stay within the subject-matter but he didn’t, hence the phone line was switched off.
He said that at the end of the interview, the accused violently entered the studio and walked directly towards him with an object in hand, which he pointed to his face and threatened to attack him anywhere they meet.
He continued that two male SLBC staff walked into the studio and asked the accused to leave, but he refused and engaged in a physical fight with the staff.
Rogers said he immediately went to the New England Ville police station to make a statement after the accused was removed from the studio.
He said the police issued him a medical request form which he took to the hospital.
The opposition spokesperson was subsequently charged to court on seven counts of public order offences in two separate files.
According to the Police, the opposition spokesperson assaulted Franklyn Rogers, Gerald Sesay and Joseph Kowa at the SLBC newsroom, contrary to the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.
The prosecution also alleged that the accused behaved in a disorderly manner at the SLBC, used threatening language against Joseph Kowa and that he unlawfully entered the SLBC studio without permission.
The matter will again be heard on 11th January, 2018.