By Sheku .M. Sillah
After spending five years and four months in remand, Lahai Kamara age 35 has finally been convicted and sentenced to 31 years imprisonment by Justice Monfred M. Sesay presiding at the Siaka Steven Street High Court for killing four years old, Ammah Mensah at Upper Emergency, Goderich in Freetown on the 28th June 2017.
Giving brief fact of the matter, Justice Sesay said the convict was charged with one count of murder contrary to the laws of Sierra Leone and it was alleged that the convict murdered Ammah Mensah.
He said during the trial, the state prosecutor, Aruna Jalloh tendered several exhibits and summoned four prosecution witnesses who testified in respect of the matter including the Government Consultant Pathologist, Dr. Simeon Owizz Koroma who established the causes of death.
The High Court Judge said Dr. Owizz told the court that the deceased died of manual strangulation; “her neck shows massive swelling and bruises of the neck muscles and haemorrhage into the neck structures and tissues,” adding that the deceased also died as a result of severe physical and sexual assault.
He added that during the proceedings, the PW1 (Umaru Conteh), father of the deceased said he was at his working place around 6pm when his wife called and informed him that she did not see the deceased.
He furthered that the convict usually goes to his house and ask for water and he use to play with the deceased and called her his small wife.
He said PW1 further told the court that the convict even played with the deceased buttocks and said she had a big buttocks and that the deceased resembled him as he had big body, adding that on the day of the incident, the convict gave sweet to the deceased and said the day his daughter got missing, the convict also disappeared.
Justice Monfred Sesay said “PW1 further told the court that on the 30 June 2017, he got information that the remains of a dead child was found lying at Gbendembu by Guma Valley pipes and he went to the scene where he found out that it was his daughter.”
He said the police investigator also told the court that on the 30 June 2017, they got information that the remains of a child had been found at Upper Gbendembu and they went to the scene where they met the father of the deceased, adding that upon their arrival, they noticed that the body had started decomposing.
He said the investigator further told the court that on the 5th June 2017, they visited the house of the convict and upon their arrival, they discovered a pile of dry sticks that were similar to the stick they found at the scene where the deceased was found, and they further entered the room of the convict where they smelt bad odor like that of a decomposed flesh or animal.
He said the investigator explained that at the house of the convict, under the shoe rack they found a spot of oil suspected to be human oil and human hair glued on the floor which they suspected to be the deceased own because they found out that there was no hair on the back of the lower scalp of the deceased.
Justice Sesay said after the Jurors returned with a guilty verdict against the convict, he therefore found him guilty of the offense.
Before the convict was sentenced, he pleaded with Justice Sesay to temper him justice with mercy and Lawyer Randy S. Bangura from Legal Aid Board also made a plea of mitigation on behalf of the convict.
However, Justice Sesay said after listening to the evidences, the plea of mitigation made by the defense counsel and considering the age of the deceased, he therefore sentenced the convict to 31 years imprisonment including the time he has spent in remand.