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AT COURT MARTIAL:

Defence’s absence inexplicably

OCTOBER 1, 2014 By Josephine A. Seppeh

The defence team in the ongoing Court Martial of 14 alleged mutinous soldiers were inexplicably absent at the trial yesterday, where they were slated to enter a ‘no case submission’.

Hired by government to defend the 14 accused soldiers, the defence team led by Julius N. Cuffie had on 15 September deferred submitting a ‘no case submission’ and as a result applied for an adjournment on 26 September. They had cited the fact that there were inconsistencies in the court record they had received from the Clerk.

Consequently, Principal State Prosecutor, Gerald Soyei, applied for an adjournment, citing the absence of the trio of defence counsels – Julius N. Cuffie, Ishmael Philip Mamie and Thomas Beah.

Soyei told the court that Beah was reportedly battling with his health and that such could be the reason for his absence in court.

The principal state counsel further stated that the defence might need sufficient time to present their submission, and that any pressure on them would be seemingly deemed undue, which might affect the substance of the trial.

He, therefore, craved the patience of Judge Advocate Otto During for an adjournment until 6 October.

Meanwhile, while acting as a private defence counsel for the 14th accused, Robert Kowa Esq. had submitted a ‘no case’ on 26 September in defence of his client, Captain Prince Sesay.

The trial, which was scheduled to last for 60 sittings, accuses the soldiers of attempted mutiny, conspiracy to commit a mutiny, among a host of charges. The accused soldiers pleaded ‘not guilty’ to all the charges.

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