As murder trial stalls for 2 years…

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Judge threatens discharge

January 28, 2015   By Patrick J. Kamara

Justice Alusine Sesay of the Freetown High Court has threatened to discharge a murder matter involving erstwhile staff of the Anti-Corruption Commission, Fatmata Finda Bangura, who is alleged to have killed her husband, Assistant Superintendent of Police Hassan Samuel Bangura at the Aberdeen Police Barracks in Freetown, on 26 May 2012.

State prosecutor Mohamed Muctarr Sow told the court that since the matter was transferred to Justice Sesay, they have been unable to assemble their witnesses and that they were finding it very difficult to bring the exhibits in court.

He told the court that he had written a letter to Ebenezer Fowler, Estate Officer of the Sierra Leone Judiciary, for him to avail the exhibits to prosecutors at the Law Officers Department, but to no avail.

“My Lord I am finding it difficult to proceed on this matter. All my witnesses have to tender exhibits and those exhibits are not yet in our possession. I have contacted the Estate Officer but up till now nothing has been done. You know this matter was before your brother, Justice Sam Margai,” the prosecutor told the court.

When the trial judge summoned the Estate Officer to explain his part of the story, the latter said the exhibits were still with the Registrar of the previous trial judge, Justice Sam Margai. He said he had requested the exhibits from Judge Margai’s clerk on several occasions without success.

He admitted though to have received a letter from the prosecutor requesting the exhibits.

Addressing the court, Judge Sesay urged the prosecutor to expedite the trial as the matter has dragged on for over two years in court.

“If you have obstacles in moving forward this matter, then offer no evidence against the accused. We should not be coming and going without making progress on the matter,” noted the trial judge. “Look at the jurors, they leave their businesses everyday only to come to court for adjournment. This matter has taken over two years, we need to expedite it. This is the last adjournment, if there is no progress on the next adjourned date I will have to discharge the accused.”

The matter will come up again on 10 February.