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At court martial…

Judge Advocate urges speedy trial

January 22, 2015 By Alusine Sesay

Judge Advocate Otto During has urged both the prosecution and defence to effectively manage their time in a bid to speedily conclude the ongoing court martial trial of 13 alleged military mutineers.

The trial was slated to last after 60 days sittings, but it has since entered its tenth month, with the defence currently presenting their case.

The soldiers were arrested on 10 August 2013 and have been incarcerated at the male correctional centre on Pademba Road for seventeen months.

The accused persons were initially 14 until Corporal Gibao Kamara was freed after the judge ruled he had no case to answer.

As the trial has gone beyond its slated 60 days sittings, both teams have agreed that the trial will henceforth begin at 9:30am, with no further delays with regards adjournments.

The defence has presented two witnesses that were identified by 1st accused, Pvt. Momoh Kargbo.

Testifying in court yesterday, 3rd defence witness, Abdulai Jalloh, Supervisor of the Auto Electrical Department, Young Star Garage on Azolini Highway in Makeni, told the court that he knew the 1st accused at the Sierra Leone Opportunities Industrialization Centre (SLOIC) in Makeni, where he studied auto electrics.

He said the 1st accused was sent to the garage by SLOIC to acquire practical knowledge in auto electrics, and that he served at the garage for about six months.

While the prosecution had alleged that the 1st accused conspired with others between 6 and 10 August 2013 to stage a mutiny at Teko Barracks in Makeni, the 3rd defence witness corroborated claims by the accused that he was at the Young Star Garage on the said dates.

While being cross-examined by lead prosecutor Gerald Soyei, the witness told the court that the 1st accused was never monitored by staff from SLOIC and denied being friends or relative to the accused.

Meanwhile, lead defence counsel, Julius N. Cuffie, applied for the 1st accused to be recalled to the witness box so that he would tender his acceptance letter from SLOIC, to form part of the evidence that he was enrolled at the institution.

The prosecution did not object, rather they said the decision was left with the judge to make in the interest of justice.

The document was tendered as the matter comes up again on Friday 23 January.

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