Prosecutor calls for defence counsel to be detained
June 4, 2015 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
State Prosecutor in the ongoing fraud matter involving Mohamed M’baqui and Mohamed Mansaray Tuesday, 2 June applied for the defence counsel, Francis Ben Kaifala, to be disciplined and detained for contempt of court.
Addressing Judge Alusine Sesay of the Freetown High Court, Monfred Sesay said that on the last adjourned date he finished cross-examining fourth prosecution witness, Malik Sariq, who is also the complainant in the matter and that it was the defence counsel’s turn to cross-examine the witness.
The prosecutor noted that after the adjournment date was announced the defence counsel told the court he was due to appear at the Ross Road Magistrates’ Court on the same date, but the judge ordered him to make sure he was in court to cross-examine the witness as his is a superior court.
The prosecutor averred that for a lawyer to snub a superior court for an inferior court was disrespectful and contemptuous, thus urged that action be taken against the counsel.
“My Lord, we have to go by the code of practice; a lawyer should not be seen abandoning a superior court for a magistrate court, and it is high time you started taking action against any lawyer that abandons a superior court for a magistrate court. I submit that this court takes action against lawyer Kaifala,” said Sesay, adding that he wished to be recorded on this application.
In his response, judge Alusine Sesay said he was in agreement with the prosecutor, but cautioned patience in dealing with the issue as sending the lawyer to prison would not be in the interest of the accused.
The accused persons, Mohamed M’baqui and Mohamed Mansaray, were arraigned in 2013 on 86 count charges, including conspiracy to defraud, false imprisonment and attempted murder.
The prosecutor alleged that between 2012 and 2013 the accused employed false pretence to dupe Indian investor Malik Sariq the sum of US$700,000.
The case was adjourned to 5June when the absent counsel is expected to cross-examine Sariq.