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Monday, February 6, 2023

Murder trials face setback

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Murder trials face setback


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He made it clear that if the prosecution failed to ensure that jurors lived up to the expectations of the court, by making themselves available all the time and continuing to provide auxiliary judicial services, “I will admit accused persons on bail. Such a situation is synonymous to almost all High Court adjudicating murder trials.”

Justice Sesay said he would not keep sealed lips over “such an unfortunate situation that continues to stall proceedings around accused persons facing murder charges, especially when jurors are charged with the civic responsibility of delivering verdicts at the end of any murder trial, backed by the judgments of any of the presiding judges”.

He pointed out that sometime last year a symposium was organized for judges and for some legal luminaries to review, among other things, the issue of jurors providing auxiliary judicial services to the High Court of Sierra Leone holding at various adjudicating murder trials, but that since then nothing positive came out of that.

State Counsel J A K Sesay, however, responded by stating that he had forwarded a formal report to the Director of Public Prosecution, Sulaiman Bah, and that he was very optimistic that the Director of Public Prosecution is working assiduously to reverse the ugly trend that was posing serious impediments to murder trials.

Counsel for accused persons facing various murder trials, Ishmael Philip Mammie, said he was very much concerned about the liberty of his clients, as most of them had been incarcerated for four years without any serious move by the state prosecution to lead witnesses in evidence.

He said he was not canvassing the court to waive its mind off the charges preferred on his clients or ignore the prosecution’s stand point.

In his conclusion, he noted that the very prosecution should be able to prove the seriousness of the offences charged by leading witnesses in evidence before a competent court of law, for the court and jurors to determine whether the accused were guilty or not. 

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