Some 19 people including 8 foreign nationals and 11 Sierra Leoneans had their bail applications put forward by their lawyers rejected by, Magistrate Deen Tarawalie at the Freetown Magistrate Court no.1A.
The 19 were facing 8 count charges.
The 8 foreign nationals (Harvey Steven Perez, Yeimy Fernandez Leandro, Victor Arauzo Lastrato (Jnr), Gerald Quintana Perez, George Artistizabal Archila, Julio Cesar Morales Cruz, Martha Pineros and Alex Remo) and 4 Sierra Leoneans (Chernor M. Bah, Mohamed Bashir Sesay, Badara Alieu Tarawalli and Hassan Mansaray) faced the first count charge of conspiracy to unlawfully land a white Cessna 441 Conquest aircraft at the Lungi International Airport in Sierra Leone contrary to law.
Another Sierra Leonean 13th accused Sadjor Sarr faced the second count charge of unlawful possession of small arms (2 pistols) at Rogbere on the 14th July 2008.
Count 3 was also for the unlawful possession of arms and ammunition – again for the 13th accused Sadjor Sarr who is alleged to have been caught at Rogbere in possession of 72 live rounds of ammunition on 14th July ’08.
Count 4 was also for unlawful possession of arms (2 AK 58 rifles and 3 AK47 rifles) at Rogbere by Bai Kargbo 14th accused.
Count 5 also alleged that the 14th accused Bai Kargbo was found to possess 359 live rounds of ammunition without license at Rogbere on 14th July 2008.
Count 6 alleges that 15th accused Alusine Kamara, 16th accused Bankole Kamara-Deen, 17th accused Fatmata Bangura and 18th accused Obai Kamara “with intent to defeat the course of public justice conspired together and with other persons unknown to use a boat named Haja Coomber for the purpose of ferrying fugitives being investigated by the Sierra Leone Police.
Count 7 alleged that 19th accused Baimba Kamara and 8th accused Alex Romeo conspired together and with other persons unknown to provide an unlawful escape for the said Alex romeo a fugitive offender being investigated by the Sierra Leone Police.
The 8th Count alleged that 2nd accused Yeimy Fernandez Leandro, 3rd accused Victor Arauzo Lastrato (Jnr), 4th accused Gerald Quintana Perez, 5th accused George Artistizabal Archila, 6th accused Julio Cesar Morales Cruz, 7th accused Martha Pineros, 8th accused Alex Remeo and 10th accused Mohamed Bashir Sesay maliciously damaged the perimeter fence affixed to the Lungi International Airport of the value of twenty million leones property of the Government of Sierra Leone.
Acting Director of Public Prosecution Oladipo Robin Mason applied for an adjournment stating that “certain prosecutorial aspects of this matter needs to be put in place which will enable us (prosecution) make a start and these issues are not yet in place.”
Lawyer Melron Nicol-Wilson who applied for bail for all the accused persons with the exception of the 10th accused pointed out that the accused “have been incarcerated in the maximum prisons for a period ranging from 8-10 days during which, it was reasonably expected that, the prosecution would have completed the investigation ‘and proceed with this all important matter.”
He stated further that “in view of the fact that, this has not been done and there is no indication of the time in which that will be done, we are respectfully applying that, the accused, with the exception of the 10th, be granted bail”.
The second reason he said was to enable the defense lawyers properly prepare their defense through “unhindered access to the accused persons.” Lawyer Nicol Wilson assured Magistrate Deen Tarawally that the accused persons will not interfere with the witnesses and also will not leave the country “because their passports are already with the Police and furthermore the boundaries of the country are properly protected by the Police …” He also cited compelling medical reasons.
On behalf of the 10th accused Mohamed Bashir Sesay, Lawyer Roland Wright quoted section 79, subsection 2 and 3 of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1965’ adding that there are “peculiar and special circumstances” for his client bail application.
He revealed to the court that the 10th accused is a law student of a British University and this is the period when they take their exams. “He is a young man, upright diligent and hardworking citizen reading Law – we would not want to guillotine this young man’s future.”
Lawyer Roland Wright also said, the accused should be released on because the constitution states that only for capital, economic or environmental offeces should a person be kept by the police for 10 days otherwise they should be held for only 72 hours, in which case his clients fundamental human rights have been violated because he has been held for more than 72 hours and the offences he has been charged to court for do not constitute capital economic of environment offences. He asked magistrate Deen-Tarawally to release his client because according to the constitution emphasizing “shall be” and stating that “it is mandatory that is you are obligated to release him” he said.
However, the Acting Director of Public Prosecution, Robin Mason objected to bail on the grounds that the application made by Lawyer Roland Wright could only be made at the Supreme Court as provided by the law. He argued that, there are offences related to conspiracy to defeat the course of justice and that if any of the accused was granted bail, there was the greater likelihood that they would interfere with the witnesses.
The application by Lawyer Nicol on medical grounds, the DPP said did not have any merit and should be dismissed by the court and that for the 10th accused, computers and internet facility could be provided for him if the right application is made, adding that they are not opposed to it.
The presiding Magistrate, in his ruling stated that, the applications by the defense teams were “rejected” and ordered that, the 10th accused by provided with computer and internet facility in detention, while the 3rd, 4th, 7th and 11th accused persons be allowed access to medical doctors.
The Prosecution Team included the Attorney General and Justice Minister, Abdul Serry Kamal, the Acting Director of Public Prosecution, Robin Mason, Gerald J Soyei, TPM Sowa, Michael P Mamie, and Miss. B Alhadi.
On the defense are Melron Nicol Wilson, CF Edwards, Suliaman Kabba Koroma and HM Gevao representing the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th accused persons, while Lawyer S Fanday Turner is representing the interest of the 12th accused. Also, Lawyers DB Quee and GB Kanneh are representing the interest of the 9th accused person, Lawyer Biloko Sesay is representing the 16th and 17th accused persons.
Lawyer Roland Wright is representing the 10th accused person and Lawyers SK Koroma, HM Gevao and IS Koroma are representing the 5th, 6th,7th,8th and 12th accused persons.
The matter comes up for hearing on the 1st of August 2008. Meanwhile, the prosecution yesterday lined up a total of 15 witnesses for the trial. By John Baimba Sesay