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Francis Haffner manslaughter trial…

Deputy Operations Officer testifies

July 21, 2016 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara

Former Deputy Operations Officer at the Central Police Division, John Bai Sankoh, who led the operation to effect the arrest of Francis Haffner (deceased) at a place called ‘Common Ground’ on Robert Street, testified on Tuesday in the Fretown High Court before Justice Miatta M. Samba

Sankoh is one of seven police officers accused of the manslaughter of Haffer while in police custody.

Prosecuting lawyer, A.G.M. Bockarie, closed his case last week after leading several witnesses who testified in the matter.

Sankoh, Momoh Mahmud Bangura and John Karimu have elected to testify on oath, while Gibril Bangura, Issa Sankoh, Alpha Conteh, Mohamed Sahid Kamara and Mary Naloh have opted to rely on the statement they made to the police.

Testifying on oath, first accused John Bai Sankoh told the court that he was on duty on 29 May, 2015 when his former boss, ASP Musa Bangura, gave him information, adding that he acted on that tip-off and summoned eight police personnel to raid the Robert Street vicinity.

He said on their arrival at Robert Street junction, he instructed five of the personnel to walk towards the Ark Community Centre, while he and one Mohamed Sahid Sesay – acquitted and discharged in the lower court – alighted from the vehicle.

He said that when they arrived at the community centre, they met a group of people who ran away as they saw them.

He narrated that he moved to where the other officers he had earlier dispatched were, and saw them with three suspects.

He said it was the fourth accused person (John Karimu), who arrested the deceased, while the other police officers arrested one Victor King and Allen Smith.

“When we returned at the police station, the necessary entries were made and a detention warrant was prepared, which I signed. The suspects were taken to the police cells. I later left the station and returned the following morning, May 30, 2015,” he said.

He said that after the suspects were released on bail the next day, he was informed that Francis Haffner had died and that he should report at the Criminal Investigation Department for questioning.

Sankoh said he was detained for 40 days at the CID cells before they were charged to court with the offence of manslaughter.

Similar testimonies were also given by Momoh Mahmud Bangura and John Karimu.

Meanwhile, Legal Aid lawyer, Cheryl Blake, informed the judge that they have one more witness to summon on the next adjourned date, 27 July, 2016.

The accused persons were arraigned at the High Court on one count charge of manslaughter, contrary to law.

The prosecutor says they caused the death of Francis Haffner after the latter was arrested on 29 May, 2015 at a place called ‘Common Ground’ on Robert Street, and detained him until the next day.

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