By Jeneba A Conteh
As preliminaries investigation continues into the Sambaia Bendugu matter, two police witnesses have tendered charge statement before Magistrate Mark Ngegba at the Pademba Road Court No.1 in Freetown.
Ex-military personnel, Joseph Sheku Jalloh and six others were on September 20, 2022, remanded again to prison for allegedly rioting and unlawfully possessing arms at Sambaia Bendegu,Tonkolili District.
The accused were before Magistrate Sahr Mark Ngegba of the Pademba Road Court No.1, for nine count charges ranging from possession of small arms without License, carrying offensive weapon, threatening language, obstruction, and riotous conduct, all contrary to law.
According to the particulars of offence, on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, at Sambaia Bendugu, Tonkolili District, in the North East of Sierra Leone, the first accused, Joseph Sheku Jalloh, was found in possession of one small arm to wit short gun without license.
On count two, the second accused was alleged to have found carrying offensive weapons to wit cutlass and knife.
Police further alleged that the sixth and seventh accused persons threatened to burn down the house of Honourable Paramount Chief Alhaji Bamba Foray Jalloh.
On count seven, it was alleged that the fourth accused obstructed the Sierra Leone Police when executing their lawful duties, while count nine added that the accused behaved in a riotous manner.
The seventh prosecution witness, Detective Sergeant 9278 Kandeh Kanu, attached at the Criminal Investigations Department, Rogbabeh Police Station in Makeni, told the court that all she was instructed to do was to obtain statement from the fifth accused person.
Led in evidence by State Counsel, AGM Bockarie, the police witness recognised the fifth accused person in the dock in respect of the matter as a suspect.
She said on the 9th of June 2022, she was on duty when she obtained voluntary caution statement from the accused,who, according to her, was cautioned and questioned in Krio and his statement was recorded in English.
She said the fifth accused admitted his statement to be true and correct and signed by affixing his right thumb print, witnessed by Detective police constable 4569 Conteh S and she signed as the recorder.
PW7 produced the said cautioned statement and was about to tender it when defense counsel, Fitzgerald Kamara, objected, saying that they were not privileged to see the statement because they were never served.
Prosecuting counsel, AGM Bockarie, asked the police to show the statement to the defense and it was later tendered and marked as exhibit ‘Y’ in respect of the matter.
At the end of her examination in chief, defense counsel, Fitzgerald Kamara, asked the witness whether obtaining the caution statement was all she done, she responded in the positive.
Taking the witness stand, the 8th prosecution witness, Detective Police Constable, 18690 Zainab Yeabu Bangura, attached to Mena Hills Police Station in Makeni, recognised the 4th accused person .
She said on the date in question, she was on duty when her boss instructed her to obtain statement from the 4th accused, Lansana Daramy. She said she followed the judge’s rule like that of the above.
In conclusion, the defense counsel, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, said the fourth accused was represented by lawyer Lansana Dumbuya, but took permission to cross examine the witness on his behalf.
Rising from his seat, prosecuting counsel led the witness to produce the statement and it was tendered as exhibit z 1-7.
Testing the evidence in cross examination, she confirmed that the fourth accused was arrested at 21:00hrs.
In exhibit z, defense counsel Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara argued strongly that the witness wrote an argument and question, but she responded that she wrote what the accused told him.
The witness further denied imposing incriminating statement that indicted the accused.
At the end of the cross examination, defense counsel renewed his application for bail.
“My lord, they are not yet convict, I pray you grant them bail because at the end of the day they come out innocent and the court will not compensate them,” he submitted.
Pleading further, defense counsel said the witnesses that have testified in court never mentioned that they found the ‘chakabula’ native gun with the first accused.
“Colonel Sheku Jalloh has served this country for long and did not have intentions to wreck it,” he concluded.
Having heard the plea of the defiance counsel, Magistrate Mark Ngegba adjourned the matter to Thursday 22nd of September 2022 for reply.