Judge Advocate cautions opposing counsels
By Alusine Sesay
Following the testimony of the second prosecution witness at the ongoing military court martial, the defence was in line to cross-examine the witness. The start witness had told the court in a dramatic fashion that the alleged mutinous soldiers had plotted to assassinate their commanders and hold the president, who is commander-in-chief of the armed forces, hostage over deplorable conditions in military barracks across the country.
Thus, the cross-examination by the defence counsel was yesterday marred by sharp arguments and exchanges between the defence and prosecution counsels, prompting Judge Advocate Otto During to caution both sides to be dispassionate and argue without hate and acrimony.
In the hit of the fierce legal exchange between both sides following an objection by the prosecution that the defence had posed an unfair question to the witness during cross-examination, Judge Advocate During intervened saying: “Why has the practice gone down so low? You don’t have to argue with hate. Don’t be emotionally carried away. Don’t put your emotion into it because such would get you into trouble.”
While cross-examining the witness, defence counsel Ishmael P. Mammy, Esq. questioned the witness as to whether he is a member of the Forces Intelligence Unit, to which he replied in the negative.
Also, he quizzed the witness as to whether he would agree he was performing the role of an intelligence officer when he was sent to ascertain rumours about soldiers allegedly bent on creating problem, to which the witness replied in the affirmative, noting that it was his responsibility as a soldier to execute duties conferred on him by his commander.
The witness, Sergeant Mamadu Jalloh, however denied a claim by the defence that he had a monetary transaction with the seventh accused person, Private Gbassay, prior to the latter’s arrest, in which he demanded an interest of Le10,000 for a loan of Le10,000 he owed the witness.
He again denied to the defence claim that he haboured any form of malice against the seventh accused person, who allegedly refused to payment the interest on the Le20,000 he owed the witness.
Meanwhile, the cross-examination was abruptly brought to a halt after the prosecution objected to a defence application that the original copy of the witness’s statement be shown to them.
Accordingly, Judge Advocate Otto During adjourned the matter to Friday, 16 May.