Accused persons acquitted and discharged
March 22, 2021
By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Mariama Sajor Barrie and her son, Ibrahim Bah, who were standing trial in the High Court for the murder of 5-year-old Khadija Madinatu Saccoh, were last Friday, March 19, acquitted and discharged for the offences of conspiracy to murder and murder respectively.
They were acquitted and discharged of the two offences by Justice John Bosco Allieu after the jurors in the trial returned not guilty verdict in the trial.
“The jurors in this trial have returned not guilty verdict on both charges, so I therefore acquit and discharge the accused of conspiracy to murder and murder,” he ruled.
Addressing the jurors earlier before they retired to give their verdict, Justice John Bosco Allieu said the trial was a long and difficult journey of seven weeks and appreciated the lawyers and the journalists who followed the process throughout.
He reiterated that the accused persons were charged with two counts charges of conspiracy to murder and murder and that they both pleaded not guilty to both counts.
“Mister Foreman and members of the Jury, where the accused pleaded not guilty as charged, it is the responsibility of the prosecution to prove their guilt and they can choose not to say anything,” he said.
He called on the jurors not to listen to what they are hearing on the street, social media, but should go strictly by the evidence that was adduced in court during the trial before they arrive at their decision.
“Mister Foreman and members of the jury, after listening to the evidence and you are satisfied that the accused persons are guilty then do the right thing by returning a guilty verdict. But if it is on the contrary then return a verdict of not guilty against them,” he cautioned them.
He further stated that for the offence of conspiracy was the duty of the prosecution to prove that there was an agreement between both accused persons and other people to murder the deceased.
He also said that for the offence of murder, the prosecution must prove that both accused persons are normal creatures, and that they must prove that both accused persons had the intention to kill the deceased.
He said they must also prove that the deceased was under the constitution of Sierra Leone, and that there was malice afterthought between both accused persons and the deceased.
He said the prosecution must prove that the deceased was not only killed by the accused persons, but also had the intention to kill her.
He said the law doesn’t only rely on direct evidence, but also on circumstantial evidence, stating that circumstantial evidence must be direct and positive and must be pointing at only one direction.
He said the evidence adduced in court revealed that the deceased was the daughter of one Binta Barrie who lives in the United Kingdom and that the first accused is the elder sister of the said Binta Barrie.
He said the second accused is the son of the first accused, which tells that there is a cousin relationship between the second accused and the deceased.
He said evidence also unfolded that, the father and mother of the deceased were once in court fighting over the children and called on the jurors to examine that evidence and that should they establish that there was bad blood between the Saccoh family and the Barrier family they should deliberate on their decision and do the right thing.
He said during the investigation, both accused persons made statements to the police, but denied the allegations in all their statements.
He said the pathologist told the court that the child died as a result of manual strangulation and that there were finger mark scratches on her neck, but other prosecution witnesses testified that there was no finger scratches on the neck of the deceased.
Mariama Sajor Barrie and Ibrahim Bah were standing trial on two count charges of conspiracy to murder and murder contrary to law.
State prosecutor Joseph Sesay had alleged that accused on Wednesday 17, June 2020 at Spur Road in Freetown conspired with unknown persons and murdered Kadija Madinatu Saccoh.