September 30, 2015 By Hawa Amara
Eight police officers who allegedly killed one Francis Haffner were yesterday remanded at the male correctional centre on Pademba Road in Freetown by Magistrate Komba Kamanda after their legal counsel, Sahid M. Sesay, submitted yet another bail application on their behalf.
The accused persons – Inspector John Bai Sankoh, Momoh Mahmoud Bangura, Gibril Bangura, John Karimu, Issa Sankoh, Alpha Conteh, Mohamed Sahid Kamara and Mary Naloh – are charged with one count of manslaughter contrary to the laws of Sierra Leone.
According to the particulars of offence, the accused persons between Friday, 29 and 30 May, 2015 caused the death of Francis Haffner, formerly of Common Ground, Off Robert Street in Freetown.
While testifying, daughter of the deceased, Francisca Haffner, told the court that on 29 May, the deceased informed her that he was going to church.
She said at around 10:30 to 11pm her step-mother, Hannah Brown, who had earlier testified, came home and said the deceased had been arrested and taken to the Central Police Station.
The witness explained that her step-mother left home the following morning and went to the police station, and that she returned at 3pm with the deceased.
“On their arrival I noticed the deceased was breathing heavily and his cloth was torn.
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He then told me to give him water in order to bathe, and after taking his bath he asked me to wash his hair. While I was washing his hair he told me that he is feeling pain all over his body,” the witness explained, adding that her father told her he was beaten by the police throughout the night he spent in the police cell.
She said the deceased told her that while at church service he felt upset and decided to go outside to take fresh air, and that, that was when he was grabbed on his neck by some police officers.
She said the deceased told her the officers threw him into the police vehicle and hit him with a wooden object.
She said the deceased was helped to enter the sitting room where he was served food but could not eat, before he was taken to the hospital.
She further stated that on their way to the Connaught Hospital the deceased started breathing heavily and struggled for breath until he passed away.
The matter is now prosecuted by private legal practitioner T.A.T.Q. Harding after an application was made to take over the matter from police prosecutors.
The matter was adjourned to 5 October.