The defense lawyer informed the jam-packed courtroom that the minister’s utterances, during a telephone interview on Radio Democracy 98.1’s Good Morning Salone, in respect of the accused who were before the court for incitement and communicating false news contrary to the Public Order Act N0.46 of 1965, was very bad for the country’s justice system.
According to him, the minister’s pronouncements on the popular breakfast news and current affairs show were “preducial” and that he had no right to comment on the matter which was already before the court for adjudication.
Lawyer Kowa told the Magistrates Court N0.1 in Freetown, before Dr. Abubakar Binneh Kamara, that if he continued to do so, he, with his colleague barristers in the matter, would resolve to serve him a subpoena.
He urged the presiding Magistrate to stop the minister from commenting on the matter on various media channels in the country, adding that as a senior government official occupying such an important position, he should not be seen prejudicing a court matter on behalf of government.
Magistrate Kamara told his audience that he did not listen to the interview granted by the minister on radio but promised that he would endeavor to listen to the recording and take a decision on the application by the defense.
Meanwhile, lead counsel for all accused person, Francis Ben Kaifala, had earlier applied for bail on behalf of his client on the grounds that the prosecution had on two adjourned dates failed woefully to bring forward its witnesses and that the accused were Sierra Leoneans who would always be available in court on every adjourned dates.
Though the prosecution was vehemently opposed to bail Magistrate Kamara granted it in the sum of Le50 million each, including two sureties who should be resident in country and must produce national passports. The bail was also subject approval by the assistant deputy master and registrar of the court.
Lawyer Kaifala also made another fresh application for the accused persons to be discharged on the grounds that the prosecution had failed to invite witnesses and that the accused had also been deprived of their rights.
Magistrate Kamara promised to give a ruling on the application of the defense lawyer on the next adjourned date, 28 November 2016.