Nurse granted bail in alleged Air Moroc theft case

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By Mohamed J Kargbo

Regina Essen, who identified herself as a nurse in her testimony, appeared before Magistrate Sahr Kekura of Court No. 1 on Pademba Road, Freetown, accused of stealing a significant amount of foreign and local currency from the Royal Air Moroc office on Wilkinson Road, Freetown.

Essen faces four charges: two counts of malicious damage contrary to Section 51 of the Malicious Damage Act 1861, office breaking and larceny contrary to Section 26 (1) of the Larceny Act 1916, and threatening to burn a house contrary to Section 50 of the Malicious Damage Act 1861.

According to the particulars of the offense, on November 27, 2023, at No. 16B Wilkinson Road, Freetown, Essen allegedly broke into the Royal Air Moroc office with the intent to steal, making off with a sum of NLe 39,925, an HP laptop, two jerry cans of diesel, and 23 kg of luggage, totaling NLe 85,867.

On the same date and location, she is accused of maliciously damaging five doors, three cupboards, and seven CCTV cameras plus a DVR, all valued at NLe 76,211. Additionally, Essen is accused of threatening to burn the house at the same address.

Police prosecutor M. M. Tawarally led Detective Andrew Amara, attached to CID headquarters, to testify in court.

Detective Amara recognized the accused and recalled receiving a transfer file on November 3, 2023, which included details of the case and statements from the complainant. These documents were presented and tendered in court.

Detective Amara testified that on February 12, 2024, following Essen’s arrest, he and Detective Inspector Konneh obtained a voluntary statement from her in Krio, which was translated to English.

Essen reviewed the statement and confirmed its accuracy with her thumbprint, which was shown and tendered in court.

The witness also mentioned that CCTV footage provided by the complainant showed Essen committing the alleged crimes. This footage was given to a cyber analyst.

Furthermore, Detective Amara, along with Detective Constable Sheku Turay, visited the crime scene with the accused and the complainant, discovering evidence of door breakage and more.

On February 17, 2024, Detective Amara and Detective Inspector M. Sunnifu obtained an additional caution statement from Essen, which she affirmed with her thumbprint.

The statement was also tendered in court. On the same day, charges of office breaking and larceny, malicious damage, and threatening to burn a house were explained to Essen, who again confirmed the accuracy of the charges with her thumbprint.

Defense counsel C. B. Davies requested a short adjournment to prepare for cross-examination, which Magistrate Kekura granted. Essen was released on bail, and the case was adjourned to June 27, 2024, for further hearings.

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