Fresh charges against APC’s Zuliatu Cooper, 13 others

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February 5, 2019

By Regina Pratt

State prosecutor, Joseph A. K. Sesay, has proffered thirteen counts fresh charges against Zuliatu Cooper and thirteen others, who were initially before the court on four counts of riotous conduct, throwing of missiles, disorderly behaviour and threatening language, contrary to the Public Order Act of 1965.

But the defence counsel, Ibrahim Sorie Koroma,objected to the said 13 count charges that were about to be read to the accused persons.

Lawyer Koroma said his clients could be given fresh charges whilst they were still before the court, thus stating that it was a violation of their constitutional rights. He stated that his clients would have been acquitted and discharged before bringing them back.

He cited section 23(5) of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone, and argued that the prosecution attempting to charge his clients, while they were before the court for the same offences, was a violation to their human rights.

He made the objection on Monday, February 4, 2019, before Magistrate Santigie Bangura, when prosecuting counsel, lawyer Joseph A.K. Sesay, asked the court clerk to put the new charges to the accused persons.

He made allusion to paragraph 2 – 13, which, he said was multiple charges that were not on the previous file.

 “I submit that on the basis provided that these accused were deprived of their constitutional rights. I urge your lordship not to allow these charges be put to them”, he said, stating that the Magistrate magnanimously apply the same bail conditions as on the previous charges.

The State prosecutor responded that there was a procedure laid down in the Supreme Court that one cannot have two files of the same charges in the same court and for the same set of accused persons, thus informing the court that they would offer no evidence on the first file.

Meanwhile, as tension started to mount in the crowded court, Magistrate Santigie Bangura adjourned the matter to Wednesday, February 20, 2019, for ruling.

They were granted bail in the sum of Le100m each