Magistrate denies discharge plea, vows to help reduce violence


January 16, 2015  By Hawa Amara

Magistrate Komba Kamanda of the Freetown Magistrates’ Court No. 1 has vowed to help reduce violence and riotous behaviour in Freetown.

The senior magistrate was speaking after defence counsel E.N.B. Ngakui entered a plea for discharge in respect of his clients, whom he said were wrongly charged with smoking cannabis, disorderly behaviour and riotous conduct, among a host of offences, despite lack of prosecution witnesses.

Magistrate Kamanda concurred with the defence counsel that the prosecution should produce witnesses in order to expedite the trial, but noted that charges against the accused persons are quite serious and thus should be treated as such.

“I am going to put a stop to violence in the Western Area so that the common man would enjoy his peace,” vowed the magistrate in a crowded courtroom. “We are governed by laws and it must be respected. I will not tolerate any criminal and violence activities in my court.”

Defence counsels Ngakui and A.B. Samura had applied for the accused persons to be discharged, citing Section 94 of the Criminal Procedures Act of 1965. They also applied that bail that had been granted to the accused persons should be reviewed.

However, Magistrate Kamanda turned down the defence, according to him, due to the nature of the charges.

But he reviewed the bail condition to the sum of Le20m plus two sureties in like sum, with the latter being residents of the Western Area, while the bail should be approved by the Deputy Master and Registrar.

The accused – James Conteh, James Robert, Ishmael Turay, Farel Brodeck, Christian Batoher, Jimmy Hartling, Mohamed Jalloh, Amadu Barrie, Ibrahim Kamara, Mohamed Kamara, and Abu Bakarr Yansaneh – were arraigned on four counts of conspiracy to commit a felony contrary to law, being in a public gathering contrary to Regulation 15(1) of Public Emergency Regulations 2014, noise and disorderly behaviour contrary to Section 13(2) 12 of the Public Order Act No.46 of 1965 as repealed and replaced by Section 12(a) of Act No.15 of 1973.

According to the prosecution, the accused were arrested on 15 December 2014 along Beccle Street, Brookfields, at a place used for smoking cannabis and were in a public gathering unrelated to Ebola sensitization.

The trial continues.