Murder instruments tendered as exhibit
By Patrick J. Kamara
Police investigator Sergeant Albert Muctarr Thullah attached to the Criminal Investigations Department at the Lungi police station yesterday tendered a cutlass, kitchen knife, bedspread, lady’s bag containing female pant and mosquito net, among other items, as exhibits in the ongoing Lungi murder trial involving one Fatmata Tucker.
Testifying before Magistrate Komba Kamanda at the Freetown Magistrates’ Court No.2, Sergeant Thullah said he was on duty on 6 April, 2014 when he received a report from Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Kojo, who had visited the crime scene, on the alleged murder.
He told the court he later went to the scene of crime – Suffian Guest House – and entered the room where the alleged incident took place, where he saw blood stain on the ceiling, mattress, wall and floor.
Defence lawyer, I.P. Mammy, raised an objection to the effect that the police witness was not an expert to ascertain that what he saw in the room was blood. The objection was upheld by the presiding magistrate.
Sergeant Thullah continued that the aforementioned exhibits were handed to him for investigation, and on 7 April, he obtained statement from the accused, witnessed by detective Joseph Conteh, which she (accused) attested to by affixing her tomb print.
The defence lawyer, for the second time, vehemently objected to the tendering of the statement on the grounds that his client was coerced to make a confessional statement, submitting that she was threatened and induced at the time the statement was obtained from her, referencing paragraph 1105 of the 34th edition of Archibald’s practice.
“I object to the tendering of this statement on the grounds that my client involuntarily made the statement. In fact she was threatened, induced and even enticed to confess on the pretext that she will be given bail. The accused was not in a state of mind and was physically weak. Lastly, the police would have called on the accused to invite her lawyer before obtaining the statement. Such statement must not be admitted as evidence before this court,” the defence counsel submitted.
However, prosecuting counsel A.G.M. Bockarie replied that police are solely mandated by law to obtain statement from accused persons. On the issue of the confessional statement, Bockarie referred the court to the evidences of the first and second prosecution witnesses, who had told the court that the accused confirmed to them that she had killed her boyfriend.
Magistrate Kamanda overruled the objection, noting that his court does not have the jurisdiction to dismiss statement of that nature.
While being cross-examined by the defence counsel, the police witness admitted that the accused told him the deceased arrived at the guest house at 3am heavily drunk, and that he (witness) never verified the truth.
When asked whether there was a struggle between the two when the deceased tried to have sex with the accused, the witness answered in the affirmative. The witness also admitted that there were stabbed wounds on the stomach and wrist of the accused in the process of the combat.
Meanwhile, the matter was adjourned to 8 May.