Ballistic expert testifies in Palo’s wife matter

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September 3, 2020

By Yusufu S. Bangura

On Wednesday 2nd September, 2020, the Forensic Ballistic Expert, Detective Inspector Joseph Abu Bakarr Sanu, attached to the Scientific Support Unit, Criminal Investigations Department headquarters, has testified before Magistrate Hannah Bonnie of Court No 1 and tendered the forensic report and findings of the 40 live rounds ammunition and other assorted items that were found at the residence of Isata Saccoh, wife of Rtd. Major Alfred Palo Conteh.

The expert with ten years’ experience, led in evidence by state counsel Yusuf Isaac Sesay, said he knew the accused and recalled on the 8th May, 2020, when he was on duty at the said station.

 He said Detective Sergeant 8904 Solomon Amadu handed over to him certain items for forensic examination.

He told the court that he took possession of the said items and conducted a forensic analysis on the said specimen and upon completion of his examination, he reduced his findings into a report dated 11th May, 2020, and signed it.

He said four other experts signed and that the said report was produced and tendered in court as exhibit.

Inspector Sanu further testified that he received 40 live rounds of ammunition, empty magazine, one black Gluck 17 plastic case, one internal gun lock with two keys and a written request form asking for a ballistic examination on the said items.

The witness continues that during the process, he physically examined the items to know whether they were conventional or locally made items.

He further told the court that he examined the ammunitions to further know which fire arms that can chamber the 40 live rounds, as they have hallow pointed jacket bullet and that the magazine can host 13 rounds.

He concluded that during their findings they discovered that the 40 ammunition can be fired by any caliber of fire arms, emphasizing that it can host 13 live rounds of 1.45 inches of ammunition that can feed any fire arms conventionally.

During cross examination by lead defense counsel, Wara-Serry Kamal, the witness said all what he did was to examine the items, stating that cartridges are different from bullet.

Prior to his testimony, Detective Police Sergeant 8904 Solomon Amadu attached to the Major Incident Unit at the Criminal Investigations Department headquarters testified that on the 8 May, 2020, whiles on duty at the said station, Detective Inspector Alimamy Kamara handed over to him 2 small packs each containing live rounds of ammunition, a black pouch containing 1 empty pistol magazine, 1 fire arm locker with two keys with assorted Gluck 17 safety action manual.

He said upon receipt of the said items together with a written request for examination, he handed them over to Inspector Sanu at the Ballistic Unit.

The witness was then showed the aforementioned items for identification and he identified them accordingly.

During the process, he said all what he did was to hand over the exhibit to the Ballistic Expert and that because he was not part of the investigation; he could not tell when the search was conducted at the accused’s residence.

The accused person (Isata Saccoh) was arraigned in court on three counts of Conspiracy, Unlawful Possession of ammunition and other related offence.

According to the indictments, the state had alleged that the accused on the 29th April, 2020, at No.11 Belewa Drive, Hill station in Freetown, was found in possession of small arms and ammunition without license.

The matter was adjourned to Wednesday 16th September, 2020, for further hearing while the accused person’s bail continues.