By Judiciary of Sierra Leone Communications Unit
Court of Appeal Judge Honourable Justice Ansumana Ivan Sesay (JA), who presided over the special criminal session held in Magburuka town, Tonkolili district in the North-East Region of the Country has convicted six accused persons of various offences including the Malicious Damage of Police Vehicle.
The accused persons; Emmanuel Gbla, David Gbla, Mohamed Gbla, Abdul Bangura, Alie Kamara and Abdulai Kamara were tried on ten-count indictment ranging from Conspiracy to commit Riotous Conduct, Riotous Conduct, Kidnapping, Wounding with Intent, Throwing Missiles and Resisting Police Arrest among others.
According to the particulars of offence, the accused persons on the 17th day of March, 2020 at Mamano village, Tonkolili District in the North-East Region of the country conspired together with other persons’ unknown to commit Riotous Conduct, Kidnapped Detective Sergeant 7846 Nathaniel Lamin, Maliciously Damaged three side glasses of Police Vehicle with registration number SLP 246 among others.
Shortly after their arraignment before the Court, the accused persons pleaded not guilty to all ten counts brought up against them by the State.
Honourable Justice Ivan Sesay granted the Trial by Judge alone application made by the State Prosecutor, Joseph A. K. Sesay.
The Prosecution led in evidence eleven witnesses during the course of the trial including Police Constable 12793 Mohamed Manzo Kabia, Police Constable 18864 Francis Junior Sesay, Dr. John F. Yellia among others and tendered several exhibits including the endorsed medical reports, statements of all the accused person, a red T. Shirt with the inscription “GOLD SEAL” worn by the 1st accused person and various committal warrants.
At the close of the prosecution’s case, the accused persons were given an opportunity to choose among the three options available to them in a bid to open and present their case. All the accused persons opted separately to rely on their statements to the Police and opted to call no witness which closed the case for the defence.
The 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th accused person further relied on the defence of alibi which was dismissed by Justice Sesay on grounds that there was sufficient identification of the accused persons about their presence at the scene of crime by many prosecuting witnesses.
Delivering his judgment, Hon. Justice Sesay said after an evaluation of the prosecution’s “overwhelming” evidence, he was satisfied in his mind that the prosecution adduced evidence beyond reasonable doubt to warrant a conviction on some of the offences charged.
Hon. Justice Sesay stressed that “having evaluated the totality of the evidence of the prosecution and that of the defence, in light of the various exhibits and the elements of the offences charged, this Court is satisfied that the prosecution have proved their case beyond reasonable doubt to warrant a conviction of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th accused person with regards to Counts 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 and I so hold.”
The accused persons were not found guilty on counts 1(conspiracy to commit riotous conduct), 3 (kidnapping), and 10 (Carrying Offensive Weapon without lawful authority).
With the death certificate which showed that the 4th accused person died, all convictions against him were withdrawn forthwith.
In respect of all the 7 counts they were convicted on, Hon. Justice Ivan Sesay imprisoned the convicts to thirty (30) years each with all sentences to be run concurrently.
The High Court Criminal Sessions are being funded by the Judiciary of Sierra Leone with funds from the Government of Sierra Leone. The Sessions are held in places where there are no sitting Judges and to further take Justice to every citizen across the country.