June 25, 2020
The treason trial of retired Major Alfred Palo Conteh and two others will soon be completed as both the prosecution and defense have closed their cases.
The prosecution closed its case after leading 13 witnesses, whilst the defense lawyers’ no-case submission was quashed by the presiding judge, who ordered them to open their case as it was necessary to hear from the accused persons for the benefit of the jurors.
On Tuesday, June 22, the defense team closed their case after testimonies and cross examination of Palo Conteh and his witness, Sidie Yayah Tunis, the acting national publicity secretary of the opposition All Peoples Congress.
While putting the evidence of Palo Conteh to test, State Council, Adrain Fisher asked the witness as to why he needed to take a pistol to State House for a meeting with the president, the accused who stood in the witness box cladded in dark blue suit, told the court that it was for his personal security.
“My weapon is for my personal security and driving from my Wilberforce residence through to State House anything could happen. But the most important thing for me is that I declared the weapon at the reception desk,” he told the court.
The accused has also stated in his statement that he was not aware of any law that debars someone from entering to State House with weapon.
Also, the accused was asked why he retired early from the army. He told the court that he was enlisted in the army in 1976 and he was forcefully retired in 1992 after his uncle, former president Major General (rtd) Joseph Saidu Momoh, was ousted in a military coup.
He cited captain Valentine Strasser, the current President Julius Maada Bio among others, as those that overthrew his uncle, but that he has long forgiven them.
The accused made those statements when the prosecution alleged that he went to State House to revenge the ousting of his uncle in 1992.
The accused confirmed that on 16th March, he did say that if it wasn’t for covid-19 himself and President Bio would not sit in the same room because they belong to different political parties.
He told the court that he carried his pistol to State House on 16th March, but he neither informed the securities at the main gate nor those at the reception because he thought it was not appropriate to do so since he left it in his vehicle.
When asked why did he took the pistol to the meeting with the president on 19th March, the accused said he thought the car boys who had approached him to wash his car might carted it away.
Meanwhile, the prosecution and defence team, the judge and jurors made a locust visit to State House yesterday, the alleged scene of crime.
However, the judge has ordered the prosecution and the defence team to prepare and give their addresses on Monday 29, June. Thereafter he would give a date for judgment.