January 14, 2015 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Magistrate Manuela Harding of the Freetown Magistrates’ Court No. 6 yesterday levied a fine of Le2 million each or six months imprisonment on four accused persons for illegal public gathering. The accused include Osman Barrie, Foday Dampay Kamara, Abdulai Umaru Turay and Soriba Silla.
The accused persons were docked on two counts of illegal public gathering contrary to Regulation 15(1) of the Public Emergency Regulation Act of 2014.
Police prosecutor Inspector Moore alleged that on 7th January 2015 in Freetown, the accused persons were found in a public gathering not relating to Ebola virus disease sensitization.
The accused persons however pleaded guilty to the charges and asked for clemency.
In her ruling, Magistrate Harding said since the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in the country, President Ernest Bai Koroma had pronounced a State of Public Emergency by ordering the closure of all entertainment centers, as well as placing a ban on all public gathering.
“Despite the pronouncement of the president, people are still doing things that they are not supposed to be doing, which is total disobedience [of the orders of the president],” said the magistrate. “The fine I am going to impose on you today will send a [strong] message to others that they should obey the laws of thiscountry.”
In another matter in the same court, Magistrate Harding also slammed a fine of Le100,000 each on five accused persons for trading in prohibited areas. They include Kadiatu Mansaray, Zainab Kamara, Sia Gbanda, Mohamed Kanu and Santos Kamara.
The accused persons were charged with two counts of expressing goods in a prohibited area contrary to Section 3(1) of the Freetown Street Trading Act Cap 70 of the Freetown Trading Notice No.6 of 1990.
Police prosecutor Inspector Moore said the accused persons were arrested on January 7 while trading along the Siaka Stevens Street, which is a prohibited area for street trading.
They all pleaded guilty and paid the fine.