Magistrate Komba Kamanda of Court No. 2 yesterday remanded 12 accused persons alleged to be in possession of 15.21 grams of a substance that is believed to be cocaine.
The matter is being prosecuted by Sergeant 1933 Alhaji M. Jah, whilst the accused persons were being represented by Lawyer J.B. Jenkins-Johnston, Lawyer Ajibola Manley-Spaine and Lawyer I.P. Mammie.
Before the matter was mentioned by the Court Clerk, the Court room had been filled by family members, sympathisers and journalists, with Police officers standing at the back of the dock whilst armed OSD Police personnel were stationed along the windows of the court as some of the accused persons mostly the female cried openly while in the dock.
The accused persons are Isha Bangura, Louisa Karim, Amma Kamara, Pa Sorie Bangura, Mustapha Bangura, Kadiatu Baby Saffa, Anita John, Wilfred Showers, Tina Thompson, Neneh Barrie, Fatmata Sowa and ZainabuDainkeh. They were all charged with one count of unlawful possession of Cocaine contrary to section 8(a) of the National Drugs Control Act No. 10 of 2008.
Particulars of offence states that on Friday 7th December 2012, at 30 Lumley Street in Freetown, the accused persons were found in possession of cocaine weighing 15.21 grams without lawful authority.
Presenting the exhibits in court, Mohamed Swarray, exhibit Clerk at Transnational Organised Crime Unit (TOCU) at Murray Town, testified that he is responsible to receive and register exhibits into the court exhibit book. He recalled the 7th day in December 2012, when Detective Assistant Superintendent of Police Osman Sesay, who happened to be a crime officer handed over to him a black and white substance suspected to be cocaine.
“I received and registered it into the court exhibit book including various items worth millions of Leones, such as; 29 wraps of brown substances suspected to be heroin and the sum of two hundred and eighty-four thousand eight hundred Leones (Le 284,800,00), one smoke pipe, one transparent plastic suspected to be cocaine, one old silver colour digital pocket scale, 25 wraps of substances suspected to be hard drugs, one small plastic containing substance suspected to be drugs together with the sum of five hundred and forty-one thousand Leones and the sum of three hundred and four thousand Leones, one Sierra Leonean passport bearing No. 024003 bearing the name Mohamed King Kamara, one Republic of Sierra Leone Motor Drivers Licence bearing the name Fatmata Moses Hashim, one old LP Computer Lap-top, one old grey Samsung television, one old Sharp television, one old Led Polyester Plasma television, one old Kenwood amplifier, one old greywood man screen, one old black DVD player, one old black Samsung TV, one old grey orion TV, One old brown speaker and two old LG speakers among others.
Lawyer Manley-Spaine, representing the first accused person applied for bail on behalf of the accused persons based on the grounds that they have been in custody for quite a long time as some of them are young girls whilst others carried children, though the offence they stand trial for is a serious one, but maintained that they are not a flight risk if they are admitted to bail.
Lawyer J.B. Jenkins-Johnston representing the second accused person, emphasised that the accused persons are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty, adding that even though the matter is serious, it is bail able as he pleaded for them to have their freedom saying some of them have learnt their lesson, having been in prison for about a month now.
Sergeant 1933, A.M. Jah, representing the prosecution, vehemently opposed to bail saying the accused persons were charged with a class A drug offence and also considering the testimony of the prosecution witness No1 and the seriousness of the matter before the court.
“Having listened to both the application made by counsel for the defence and the objection raised by the prosecution, and considering the serious nature of the matter, the accused persons are remanded in custody until the next adjourned date” said Magistrate Komba Kamanda, as the matter was adjourned to Thursday 24th January 2013.
After the matter was adjourned, the general duty police personnel were assisted by armed OSD officers to take the accused persons to the lock up for safe custody before being taken to the Freetown Central Prison at Pademba Road, whilst family members, sympathisers stood at the side of the Court corridor shedding tears.
By Alhaji M. Kamara