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At Court Martial:

Defence presents ‘no case submission’ - highlights ‘inconsistencies’ in prosecution’s case

OCTOBER 13, 2014 By Alusine Sesay

Lead defence counsel in the ongoing court martial of 14 alleged mutinous soldiers last Friday shed light on series of alleged “inconsistencies” in the testimonies of prosecution witnesses.

Julius N. Cuffie was presenting a “no case submission” on behalf of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th accused persons.

He said there were inconsistencies in the testimony of the second prosecution witness, Sergeant Mamadu Jalloh, a factual witness who had testified that the 1st accused met him at his house on 10th August, 2013, in the morning hours, but that such was contrary to what is contained in his statement to the police in which he said he saw the accused on 14th August, 2013.

“My Lord, the date is an issue considering the statement he made to the police and his testimony in court. During cross-examination, PW2 insisted that he met with the 1st accused on the 10th August, 2013. In his statement to the police, he said he saw the 1st accused on the 14th August, 2013,” the defence counsel submitted.

He said that upon further scrutiny regarding the time the witness met the accused, the witness replied during cross-examination that he had no watch on him, hence could not tell the exact time.

“He was exact in his statement to the police that he saw the 1st accused on the 14th August, 2013 at 21:30,” Cuffie noted.

The defence lawyer referenced the statement of the 1st accused in which he said he was locked up in a guardroom on 14th August, 2013, although the second prosecution witness denied knowledge of that during cross-examination.

According to Cuffie, due to “inconsistencies” in the testimony of the second prosecution witness, he would safely submit that no conversation took place between the witness and the accused as the statement of the witness was only a figment of his imagination.

For the formal Police witnesses who testified against the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th accused persons, he argued that they only did what he referred to as armchair investigation because they failed to controvert alibi raised by the accused persons.

“The 3rd accused told the Police investigators that he was deployed at Sania between the Sierra Leone-Guinea border from April to August, but they never cross-checked such an alibi,” he said. “They did an armchair investigation. It is our submission that the prosecution failed to controvert the alibi raised by the 3rd accused, hence the case against him must fail.”

He made similar argument on behalf of the 4th and 5th accused persons.

Lawyer Cuffie said the 5th accused told the police in his statement that he was enlisted in 2002 and was since deployed at Government Wharf in Freetown, and had never been to Makeni, where they alleged mutinous soldiers were stationed.

“PW 4 never verified that information. The accused was in Freetown up to August 9, 2013 and the prosecution failed to adduce evidence to controvert the alibi of the 5th accused person,” he further argued.

In all, the defence counsel submitted that the case against all 14 alleged mutinous soldiers be dismissed and the accused persons acquitted and discharged.

Meanwhile, Principal State Prosecutor Gerald Soyei requested for a month’s adjournment to enable him reply to the defence’s submission.

The matter continues on 12th November.

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