Police manslaughter accused refused bail again


October 9, 2015  By Hawa Amara

Eight police officers were refused bail again yesterday and remanded at the Male Correctional Centre on Pademba Road for allegedly killing one Francis Haffner.

The accused persons are John Bai Sankoh Momoh, Mahmoud Bangura, Gibril Bangura, John Karimu, Issa Sankoh, Alpha Conteh, Mohamed Sahid Kamara and Mary Naloh.

They were arraigned at the Freetown Magistrates’ Court No. 1 presided over by Magistrate Komba Kamanda on one count of manslaughter contrary to law.

According to the charge sheet, the accused persons on 29 and 30 May, 2015 caused the death of Francis Haffner of Robert Street, Freetown.

Prosecution witness, Allen Smith, told the court that he knew the deceased and recalled on 29 May at around 8:30pm after a church service at the Ark Community Centre on Robert Street, adding that he saw the deceased seated on the edge of the Samba gutter, surrounded by some people.

He said he was about to cross over to Robert Street when he saw people running, and that he was subsequently arrested by the fifth and third accused persons, who also arrested the deceased.

He explained that the first accused arrived at the scene and angrily remonstrated with the other accused person for arresting only three people instead of ten, and remarked: “Today is Friday and I am not joking.”

The witness stated that the fourth accused then handcuffed him and two others and took them to the Central Police Station. He said the eight accused, Mary Naloh, requested that they pay the sum of two hundred thousand Leones to facilitate self bail.

“At Central Police they locked us in a police cell and charged us with the offence of frequenting,” explained the witness. “While in the cell the deceased was complaining pain when one of the inmates called out to the lockup and told him that the deceased was dying, but the lockup officer replied that they should not border him.”

He added that the deceased was released on bail on Saturday, 30 May but however did not state whether any payment was made before the release.

His testimony was corroborated by the fourth prosecution witness, Victor King.

Defence counsel Sahid M. Sesay renewed his application for bail, submitting that the accused persons have been in custody since they were charged with the offence.

He said the accused were only executing their lawful duty and effecting the Public Order Act, and pleaded with the magistrate to grant them bail.

Magistrate Kamanda though refused to grant the accused persons bail and adjourned the matter to 13 October.