May 14, 2015 By Alusine Sesay
Judge Advocate Otto During, presiding at the mutiny trial of 13 soldiers, yesterday expressed dismay and dissatisfaction over the unceremonious absence of the prosecution in court.
The trial of the alleged mutineers commenced 6 April, 2014, spanning over a year now.
Both the prosecution and the defence had closed their cases after presenting witnesses that testified in court.
However, the prosecution was expected to address the court yesterday following two consecutive adjournments on the grounds that there was more work to be done on their address, but was absent in court.
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Although president of the court martial board, Lieutenant Colonel B. Jusu, was absent because he had travelled to Gabon to attend a workshop on cyber communication, the Judge Advocate emphasized that the prosecution would have been available to address the court.
“Notwithstanding the absence of the president, but the prosecution should be here to address the court. This is a very serious matter and the prosecution should take it serious,” said Judge Advocate Otto During.
The prosecution was initially led by Principal State Prosecutor, Gerard Soyei, but Major Vincent Sowa had taken over from the former after the former suffered from a mysterious ailment.
Meanwhile, third accused Private Coker Suma, who was granted leave to secure medical attention at the 34 Military Hospital after he complained of being diagnosed of hepatitis, was yesterday in court.
He said he was given only basic treatment for typhoid, and informed the court the hospital could not provide him medication for hepatitis, although they confirmed his diagnoses.
He said he was only issued with a prescription to buy the drugs but could not because he has no access to money.
“My cheque book has finished and I have no access to my account,” said the accused. “I am pleading that the court assist me apply for my cheque book to enable me access my account and buy the prescribed drugs.”
The Judge Advocate told the accused his defence should ensure he access his account.
All 13 accused deny various charges of conspiracy to mutiny, mutiny and failure to report a mutiny after they were arrested on 10 August, 2013.
However, one of the alleged mutineers was released subsequently after the Judge Advocate ruled “he has no case to answer”.