Defense counsel boycotts treason trial, alleging unfair treatment


By Yusufu S Bangura

In the ongoing treason trial of the 12 alleged coup plotters at the Siaka Steven Street High Court in Freetown, defense counsel, Musa Pious Sesay, representing Amadu Koita Makolo and Bai Mamoud Bangura, boycotted the proceedings on Thursday, February 29.

 Sesay claimed  unfair treatment, citing instances of constitutional violations concerning the defense’s representation of their clients.

Speaking to the press during a court break, Sesay explained, “As a senior member of the Bar Association, we have several instances to demonstrate that the presiding judge did not accord the defense their right to adequately represent their clients. The reason for the boycott today is based on the frequent use by the presiding judge to arraign defense counsels for contempt, and he is overusing that power.”

Sesay further mentioned instances where the judge allegedly refused to allow sufficient time for the defense team to respond to major amendments in the indictment, and he criticised the judge’s conduct during previous proceedings for lacking constitutional provisions of fair hearing.

He claimed that the conduct of the previous proceedings revealed glaring constitutional violations of provision for fair hearing.

“For these reasons, as a senior member of the Bar, the defense team has unanimously agreed to indefinitely stay away from the proceedings, and I have informed my clients to that effect,” he confirmed.

In a separate development during the trial, lawyer Sigismond A Conteh, representing Amadu Koita Makolo, conducted a cross-examination on Inspector Tamba Kassigbama.

Conteh questioned the witness about the accused’s statements, pointing out disparities and inconsistencies.

The defense objected to a question posed during the re-examination of the witness, arguing that it had been answered clearly before and did not raised any fresh issues.

The defense requested the court to discountenance the re-examination, but State Counsel countered, stating that the question raised fresh issues relevant to the jury’s understanding.

Justice Komba Kamanda dismissed the defense’s objection and allowed the re-examination to continue. The witness responded that, based on the investigation, Alhaji Koroma and Amerikin revealed that the money sent to them by Koita was part of a plan to overthrow the president.


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