Court Martial!


Defence presents final witness with prosecution to address court in two weeks

April 16, 2015 By Alusine Sesay

The court martial trial of 13 alleged mutinous soldiers yesterday adjourned for two weeks following which the prosecution will address the court. This was after the defence presented their twelfth and final witness, who corroborated an alibi claim by the 8th accused, Private Alpha Mansaray.

Witness Memunatu Mansaray, spouse of the 8th accused, led in evidence by counsel Ishmael Philip Mammy, told the court that she had stayed with her husband at the Teko Barracks in Makeni for over four years, and recalled that on 16th August, 2013 her husband, dressed in full military uniform, left home to go to the brigade headquarters after a fire alarm was raised.

She testified that the accused would always be at home with the family when not on duty, as well as assist her with domestic chores, adding that the accused had never left home without her consent or sneaked out at night.

“He never slept out when not on duty and he never sneaked out at night without my knowledge because I always lie in front and whenever he wanted to go outside to attend to nature, I would know and accompany him,” she told the court. “I am charged with the responsibility to lock the door and there had never been a situation where I had forgotten to do so at night.”

She also recalled the month of July 2013 when they both travelled to Mattru Jong while her husband was on annual leave and returned to Makeni on the expiration of the leave.

The witness admitted knowing Saint Andrews School in Makeni, but noted she had no knowledge that her husband attended secret meetings at the school to take up arms against military superiors and the government of Sierra Leone. She further noted that she was unaware her husband attended secret meetings anywhere and had never seen him incite any of his co-accused.

She confirmed the conflict that had existed between the 1st accused, Private Momoh Kargbo, and her husband, but could not remember details of the conflict. She further admitted knowledge of a charcoal transaction between the 12th prosecution witness, Memunatu Taqi Kamara, and the 8th accused, adding that Memunatu intimated her about the outcome of the transaction and threatened to do all she could to ensure the accused was dismissed from the military.

While being cross-examined by State Prosecutor Vincent Sowa, the witness noted that her husband so much loved his job that he had never been absent without official leave (AWOL), locked up in a guardroom or charged for not performing his military duties.

The court martial trial of the alleged military mutineers started on 6 May, 2014 after 14 soldiers were incarcerated at the Pademba Road Correctional Centre for about eight months.

After the prosecution had closed its case, the defence submitted a “no case” submission, but  only 9th accused, Corporal Gibao Kamara, was discharged after the judge ruled that he had no case to answer.

The matter has been in court for almost a year now.

Both the prosecution and the defence are expected to address the court and thereafter the Board Members of the Court Martial would retire, before the judge would pass his final verdict.

The accused were charged with mutiny, conspiracy to commit mutiny and failure to suppress mutiny, among a host of other charges, but they entered a “not guilty” plea.