At Court Martial: Prosecution may close case next week

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March 20, 2019

By Patrick Jaiah Kamara & Ibrahim Tury

State Prosecutor has told the Judge Advocate, Justice Alhaji Momoh Jah Steven and five Board Members sitting at the Court Martial trial of three soldiers that, they might close their case next week after leading their last witness, who is currently out of the jurisdiction.

Yesterday, Joseph A.K. Sesay said their next witness, Major M.K. Barrie, who was supposed to testify that day was out of the jurisdiction on special mission in China.

He said the witness was in the country last week, but he couldn’t testify because the sitting was interrupted by the Arms Forces Day celebration.

The prosecutor said he would duly inform the Bench and the defense on Friday (22, March) as to whether they would summon their next witness on the next adjourned date.

However, the Judge Advocate urged the prosecution to bring forth their witness on the next adjourned date as the matter should be expedited.

“Let us expedite this matter. We have committed ourselves to end this trial in three months. I am urging you to summon that witness on the next date. The State has the resources, let them buy another ticket for the witness provided if you need him very badly. But again, if you know any witness has testified that would be similar to what he is going to say, I advise you leave him out,” he said.

Earlier, lawyers Ade Macauley, Drucil Taylor and Amadu Koroma, had wanted to crossed examine the 4th prosecution witness, Superintendent Mohamed K. Alieu, who had testified on 15 January, 2019, but counsels deferred the cross-examination on the grounds that there were some documents they have to peruse.

Superintendent Alieu is attached to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and was given the task to investigate the ammunition that were discovered in the cesspit near Presidential Lodge.

During cross examination, Superintendent Alieu explained that the first accused person was interviewed by himself, Captain Silvanus Sheriff, who was the Head of Investigation in the military and two other officers.

When asked as to why he came to the conclusion that the first accused did not conduct any training where he might have used some cartridges, the witness told the court that it was one Major Sallieu that he interviewed at the Joint Logistic Unit, who told him that the accused did apply for training, but he was rejected.

Lawyer Macauley further asked the witness if anybody had told him that it was the first accused that dumped the ammunition in the cesspit, the witness said he did not get it from anyone and added that his answer was backed by the voucher that was in their possession, which showed discrepancies.

Lawyer Taylor, who is representing the second accused, asked the witness whether there was any document that pointed out that his client stole any ammunition during his time as store keeper at the Presidential Lodge.

He replied that the evidence pointed at him because he was in charge of one of the stores and when he was handing over to Captain Kamara, there was no official documentation.

When quizzed by lawyer Amadu Koroma as to whether he had any document in his possession that showed that the second accused received the said ammunition that were found in the cesspit, the Superintendent denied, and referred the court to another document.

However, the trial of SL/1246 captain Patrick Edwin Kamara, RSLAF 18165301 Warrant Officer Class one, Samuel Conteh and RSLAF 18167256 Warrant Officer Class two, Abu Bakarr Jalloh started on January 8 and it is supposed to last for three months.

The men are before the Court Martial to answer to five counts of conspiracy, larceny by servant, willful neglect and ordering damage to service property, willful damage of service property, to conduct that was prejudicial to the group order and military discipline, contrary to the Armed Forces of the Republic of Sierra Leone Act No.34 of 1961 as amended. But they have pleaded not guilty to the offences.

The State has alleges that the total value of the ammunition damage is $80,402.30 equivalent to Le 683,490,550, property of the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL).

Meanwhile, at the end of the trial, the Judge Advocate would hand-down a summing up judgment and provide legal advice to the Board Members who are expected to return with a verdict.

The matter would come up again next Tuesday, 26 March 2019.