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At Court Martial…

Naval Commander testifies on accused alibi

January 27, 2015 By Alusine Sesay

5th defence witness in the ongoing court martial trial of 13 alleged military mutineers, Lieutenant Commander S.A. Kamara, a naval officer attached to the Sierra Leone Maritime Wing base at Murray Town, Freetown, last Friday testified on the alibi defence raised by 2nd accused, Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2) Frederick Wallace-Johnson.

While being cross-examined by lead prosecutor Gerald Soyie Esq., WO2 Wallace-Johnson had told the court he would report for work at Government Wharf Maritime Wing in Freetown at 8:30am and end the day at 3:30pm, adding that Sundays were his off days even in emergencies.

However, the defence witness said the 2nd accused person would report for duty at 8:30am until 3:45pm, and could be called upon to report for duty on Sundays, especially when the naval patrol boat – PB105 Sir Milton – had difficulties.

The 2nd accused person, 1816-4277 WO2 Frederick Wallace-Johnson, had testified he was enlisted in the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces in 1986 and passed-out in 1988, and that he had only be deployed at the Government Wharf and Murray Town naval headquarters in Freetown and had never been sent to work at 4th battalion, Teko Barracks in Makeni.

WO2 Wallace-Johnson, who identified himself as a naval officer and diver attached to the Government Wharf Maritime Wing, told the court that save for the 5th accused, he had never met any of the other accused persons, and that they only met after he was arrested and detained at the Pademba Road male correctional centre.

He said he had only travelled to Makeni in 1998 during the military interregnum, but had since been deployed at Government Wharf, conducting muster parades every morning as well as checking and mending PB105 Sir Milton.

He said he worked for six days each week and had never been absent for duty, adding that he did not request welfare pass for the 1st to 23rd August, 2013 – the period the alleged mutineers are alleged to have met and planned the mutiny.

WO2 Wallace-Johnson was arrested on 23 August 2013 and together with 13 others detained at the Pademba Road male correctional centre.

He said he was due to proceed on annual leave in August 2013 but his commander, Lieutenant Commander S.A. Kamara, had pleaded with him to forgo the leave so that he could take care of maintenance of the naval patrol boat until it was taken to dock at Kanikay, east of Freetown.

He further told the court that he was on duty at Government Wharf on to the day of his arrest (23 August, 2013), and denied being part of a meeting prosecutors say the alleged mutineers held at Teko Barracks in Makeni.

Lieutenant Commander Kamara confirmed the 2nd accused neither AWOL (absent without official leave) from duty nor did he request for welfare pass in August 2013, and that he had reported for duty from 6 to 10 August, 2013.

He told the court he was surprised to have learnt that the accused was standing trial for mutiny before a military court martial.

All 13 soldiers deny charges of treason, failure to report a mutiny and conspiracy to mutiny, among a host of offences they were charged with.

The trial will resume today, 26 January.

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