January 15, 2015 By Alusine Sesay
Judge Advocate in the ongoing Court Martial trial of 13 alleged mutineers, Otto During, yesterday granted a subpoena order for a second defence witness identified only as Allieu, a garage supervisor at Star Garage in Makeni, who failed to appear in court. He was due to corroborate a defence of alibi raised by first accused, Pvt. Momoh Conteh.
Judge Advocate During added that a bench warrant would be issued against the witness should he fail to appear after being subpoenaed by the court.
In his testimony earlier on, Pvt. Conteh said he was at the Star Garage along Azolini Highway in Makeni on the day prosecution alleged the mutiny was being planned.
In all, two witnesses were supposed to have testified yesterday but only one of them, a military corporal, was in court. However, he could not testify because he was the wrong witness.
It emerged that the right witness should have been one Corporal Kamara, whose full name and number was not mentioned in the subpoena, hence the mistaking identity.
Lead defence counsel, Julius N. Cuffie, begged for an adjournment as a result of the mix-up in the identity of their witness, and promised the right person would be in court on the next adjourned date – 19 January.
The court martial trial of the alleged military mutineers started on 6 April 2014, after the accused were arrested on 10 August 2013 and incarcerated for over eight months at the Pademba Road Male Correctional Center in Freetown.
The trial was originally slated to last for 60 days sittings but has now entered its tenth month this January.
The officers were charged with eight counts of mutiny and failure to suppress a mutiny, among a litany of charges, but all 13 have pleaded not guilty.
The prosecution closed its case after presenting 11 witnesses who testified in court.
This was followed by the defence entering a “no case submission” on the grounds that all the accused persons should be acquitted and discharged.
But Judge Advocate During dismissed the ‘no case submission’, save for Corporal Gibao Kamara, who was acquitted and discharged.
The trial continues.