Court Martial frees squadron leader


…family celebrates victory

September 21, 2015 By Alusine Sesay

Wife of Squadron Leader Philip Joseph Shenks, who was standing trial at a military court martial on two counts of forgery, in tears of joy celebrated her husband’s acquittal and gave praises to God for what she referred to as “His divine intervention”.

According to the prosecution, between 10th and 15th December 2012, the accused made a false study leave approval document, knowing it to be false in a material time, by inserting a false name and signature purporting it to be the name and signature of the Director of Personnel at the Ministry of Defence.

The matter was prosecuted by Ishmael Philip Mammy and Major Vincent Sowa.

However, the accused denied all the allegations and his defence lawyer, E.E.C. Shears-Moses, argued his innocence by producing a forensic analysis report which vindicated the accused.

He was last Tuesday acquitted and discharged on all count charges by members of the Court Martial Board, comprising the president, Lieutenant Colonel Thoronka and four other members.

Speaking to Concord Times, Mrs. Sia Shenks noted that the allegations against her husband were a calculated conspiracy to bring him down, and that the family suffered severe humiliation and reproach. “But I give God the glory for His divine intervention. We can now celebrate victory despite all the odds we went through,” said the spouse of the squadron leader, whose air force rank is equivalent to a Major in the army.

In an absolute show of loyalty, the discharged squadron leader told Concord Times that he holds no grudge against the military and that he was grateful for the fact that the Armed Forces played a pivotal role in his academic pursuit.

“I will never leave the Army because I have been serving since my teens and I have achieved a lot.
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I am grateful to the military because it has been the means through which I have achieved my academic goals,” he said.

Although he said the trial personally affected him in diverse ways, including the withholding of his promotion and other entitlements, he added: “I am now ever ready to serve not only the military but the nation as whole.”

Before his trial, Squadron Leader Shenks was the Commander of the Air Wing of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces, but was suspended from his position during the trial.

If reinstated, he said, he would ensure that the unit achieve its national goal by carrying out strategic security operations for the country.