Sierra Leone: On their fourth appearance in court, Magistrate Sahr Kekura has again refused bail application made by defense counsels in the on-going preliminary investigation into allegation of illegally importing guns into the country, involving a Member of Parliament and three others.
The refusal came after defense counsels intimated the Court that their clients suffer series of health complications, noting that they may not get the kind of attention needed while at the Male Correctional Facility on Pademba Road.
According to the police, Nabieu Unisa Raymond Bangura, Honorable Emmanuel Saidu Conteh, and Sheriff Jalloh on a date between Thursday 22nd April Friday 2nd July 2021 and with intent to commit a felony, conspired together with other persons unknown to commit a felony to wit, illegal importation of arms and ammunitions.
Police also alleged the aforementioned accused persons were found in possession of arms and ammunitions without valid license, among others.
Police slammed four counts charges of conspiracy to commit a felony, to wit, illegal importation of arms and ammunitions contrary to law, illegal importation of arms and ammunition contrary to Section 18(1) of the Arms and Ammunitions Act No. 9 of 2012, unlawful possession of arms and ammunition contrary to Section 11(1) of the Arms and Ammunition Act No. 9 of 2012, and other.
During cross-examination, first prosecution witness, PC Joseph, when he was asked by lead defense counsel for the second accused persons, if he was at the onset of the investigation, revealed that he came into the matter two days after the investigation started.
PC Collins said the second accused is faced with three counts charge in the four counts charges slammed on the accused persons, but when lawyer Dumbuya put it to him that his client was not cautioned for conspiracy and illegal importation of arms and ammunition, he responded that he did not recall.
Lawyer Dumbuya reminded the witness and the Court that the ultimate receiver of the container in question is one Aruna Rahim, the witness responded the goods are specifically shipped to the aforementioned name, but not the second accused.
Defense counsel for the third and fourth accused persons, M.N Bittar, told the Court that his clients had earlier denied the allegation, adding that he was just an employee of United Investment Group. Lawyer Bittar added that his client was not part of the shipping process, but the distribution process, and the witness was in agreement with lawyer Bittar.
Lawyer Bittar continued that his clients did not know the shipper or the receiver. He made referral to the documents produced in court as evidence, adding that the witness was well informed of his client’s duty in the whole process.
During re-examination by the State Prosecutor, J.A.K Sesay, he asked what the witness meant when he said that the 3rd and 4th accused were not the shipper or receiver, but defense counsel objected to the question on the grounds that the question raised is not a fresh one. But Magistrate Kekura sustained the question asked by the prosecuting counsel.
Thereafter, State Prosecutor, J.A.K. Sesay disclosed that the prosecution intends to produce their second witness, but will not be able to do so yesterday, owing to the fact that post-charge investigation is on-going. He therefore requested for an adjournment.
Lead defense counsel for the second accused person renewed and adopted his previous bail application made. He disclosed that the health condition of the second accused is deteriorating. He urged the Magistrate to grant bail to the accused persons. However, State Counsel responded that the AG’s Office and CID intends to make post-charge investigation.
Magistrate Kekura responded that the reply of the State Counsel was relevant. He remanded all accused persons and he adjourned the matter to the 26th July 2021.
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