Court records reveal that the ten accused persons on diverse dates between 9th May 2018 and 19th September 2018 at the Masongbeh village in the Yoni Chiefdom, Tonkolili Judicial District in the northern province in the Republic of Sierra Leone, conspired with other persons unknown to cultivate Cannabis seeds from which a narcotic drug to wit: Cannabis Sativa can be extracted without lawful authority.
Six of the accused persons are also alleged to have conspired with unknown individuals on the above –mentioned dates at Mathinbo village in the Yoni Chiefdom, Tonkolili Judicial District in the Republic of Sierra Leone conspired together with unknown individuals to cultivate cannabis seeds from which a narcotic drug can be extracted without a written consent from the lawful authority.
The charge sheet stated that one of the accused persons, KadiatuTuray was found in possession of one bag containing cannabis sativa, weighing twenty kilograms, on Sunday 9th September 2018 at the same Mathinbo village in the Yoni Chiefdom in the Tonkolili Judicial District, northern part of the country.
When the matter was initially charged to court by officers attached at the Transnational Organized Crime Unit Headquarter (TOCU) at Hastings in the outskirt of Freetown, thirteen accused persons appeared before the presiding Magistrate, but the court record indicated that the third accused person, Frank Sembu was later discharged.
Counsel representing the State Juan M.S Bull submitted that the accused persons are not treating the court with the seriousness it deserves, and that since they were admitted to bail, they have failed on several occasions to respect the court, by boycotting court proceedings.
She applied for Bench Warrants for two of the accused persons who were not present in court when the matter was mentioned
Barrister Juan Bull added that it was rather unfortunate that two of the accused persons were not present in court, as the State is well prepared to proceed with the matter.
Lead counsel for all accused persons, Yasmin Jusu Sherrif countered that it was not deliberate on the part of their clients to boycott the court proceedings.
She informed the court that one of the accused persons lost his father in the province and had gone to attend the funeral ceremony. She further intimated the court that the other accused person is sick and admitted at one the hospitals in Lungi. But she assured the court that they will attend court proceedings on the next adjourned date.
In the light of the submissions from both prosecution and the defense, the presiding magistrate, Santigie Bangura issued Bench Warrants for both accused persons who jumped bail. But one the accused person’s Bench Warrant was rescinded, when he emerged in the court, after the matter had been adjourned.
The matter comes again on Thursday 15th November this year.