State closes case in court martial trials

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By Ibrahim Kabba Turay

In the ongoing court martial trial of twenty-seven military personnel, state prosecutors have officially closed their case. The defendants stand accused of involvement in a failed coup attempt on November 26, 2024, in Freetown.

Representing the state, Lawyer Joseph A.K Sesay announced that after presenting 37 witnesses, the prosecution decided not to call the remaining 35 witnesses listed on the indictment. This decision aims to expedite the trial process, and Sesay confirmed that he had informed the defense counsels accordingly.

“The accused are charged with 88 counts, supported by several witnesses,” Sesay stated. “All charges were thoroughly investigated in accordance with military provisions, and they should be tried by court martial. My Lord and president of the board, having presented 37 witnesses, the prosecution will now close its case.”

Defense counsel Ady Macaulay requested a brief adjournment to confer with their clients and determine whether to make a written or oral no case submission. The judge advocate granted this request, temporarily standing down the matter to allow for these consultations.

Following the brief recess, Macaulay reported that several accused persons—specifically the 11th, 12th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 19th, 22nd, 23rd, and 25th—wished to proceed with their no case submission.

Macaulay requested a two-week period to prepare written submissions for the remaining defendants. Additionally, he noted that the 23rd accused would call three witnesses, while the 9th and 19th accused would take the witness stand themselves.

Lawyer Ibrahim Bangura from the Legal Aid Board indicated that his clients would also take the stand to testify and requested the records of his clients for review.

The judge advocate, acknowledging the substantial number of witnesses and the five-month duration of the trial, denied the request for a two-week preparation period. Instead, he adjourned the matter to Wednesday, June 12, 2024, for the defense lawyers to make their no case submissions.

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