January 20, 2016 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
The presiding judge in the Lungi murder trial involving one Fatmata Moijueh Tucker at the High Court of Sierra Leone has threatened to jail jurors if they failed to show up on the next adjourned date.
Justice Alusine Sesay issued the warning yesterday in court when the murder matter was mentioned and he realised that some jurors were absent for the second consecutive time, staying that they have contributed to delays in the litigation.
He said the matter would soon conclude because defence counsel Ishmael Philip Mammie had told the court he would soon close his case after taking his last defence witness. However, he noted that the problem is with the jurors who continue to be absent in court, thus preventing the last defence witness to testify.
“This case would no longer be delayed because of the problem of jurors; when a matter of this nature delays in court the blame goes to the court and not the jurors. Let me warn you the jurors that are present here today that if you fail to show up in court on the next adjourned date I will order your arrest and detention,” he sternly warned.
However, the foreman of the jurors informed the court that one of the absent jurors was seriously ill, while the other had travel to Liberia and could not tell when she would return to Sierra Leone.
The accused is being tried on one count of murder contrary to the laws of Sierra Leone.
The prosecution alleges that the accused Fatmata Moijueh Tucker on Sunday, 6 April, 2014 murdered his boyfriend, Saidu Bangura at Suffian Guest House in Lungi, Port Loko District, northern Sierra Leone.
The matter was adjourned until Tuesday, 2 February this year.