By Sahr Eric George
Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – The defence lawyer, Julian Cole, representing the eight individuals accused of vandalizing and setting a church ablaze in Freetown, strongly objected to the prosecution’s attempt to tender a flash drive containing video evidence. The objection occurred during the proceedings before Magistrate Sahr Kekura.
James Momodu Sesay, the prosecution lawyer, had previously promised to present and tender video evidence stored in memory sticks during the testimony of Emmanuel Banya from the Gateway Evangelistic Ministry Church, the alleged victim of the accused persons’ actions.
The eight accused individuals, including Alpha Bangura, Parteh Jalloh, Dauda Jalloh, Santigie Koroma, and Abdul Bangura, face six counts of charges, including conspiracy, arson, and sacrilege.
The police allege that on September 24, 2023, at the Gateway Evangelistic Ministry Church in Quarry, Kissy, the accused persons conspired to break into the church, stole various items, and attempted to set fire to the premises. The charges also include maliciously damaging property belonging to the church.
During Banya’s testimony on Monday, February 5, 2024, he informed the court that he had stored the video recordings of the theft and vandalism on a flash drive, which he then produced and tendered as evidence in the case.
However, Cole objected to the tendering of the flash drive, asserting that the defence needed assurance that the video on the drive was the same as the one shown during the last hearing.
“I most respectfully object to the tendering of the memory stick mainly because I do not know if the video it contains is the same as the one shown to the defence at the last hearing,” Cole stated.
In response, Sesay argued that the prosecution had followed the correct procedure by first tendering the flash drive to the court, as per the tripartite agreement in court to send the videos in separate flash drives.
Magistrate Kekura advised both counsels to bring supporting authorities for their arguments on the next adjournment date. The ruling is expected on Tuesday, February 13, 2024. Bail was extended for the accused persons. SEG/6/2/2024