By Sahr Eric George
Dr. Simeon Owizz Koroma, the police pathologist, took the stand to present the cause of death in the case of Isha Saidu Hughes, a former prison officer allegedly killed by her elder brother Sulaiman Conteh. Conteh is currently on trial for her murder.
The prosecution, led by lawyer Aruna Jalloh, wrapped up their case after presenting six prosecution witnesses, including the pathologist and two 7-year-old factual witnesses.
As per the indictment, Conteh was accused by the police of murdering his sister, Isha Saidu Hughes, on Friday, July 14, this year, at No 6 A Savage Street Wellington.
Under the guidance of Jalloh, Dr. Owizz testified that on July 24, he was at the Ministry of Internal Affairs when he received a request from the Police to perform an autopsy on Hughes’ remains.
Dr. Owizz stated that he conducted the postmortem within the Connaught Hospital Mortuary in the presence of Mrs. Cecilia Williams, the deceased’s aunt, M. Koroma, the Investigating Officer attached to the CID headquarters, and the Scene of Crime Officer.
Upon completing the autopsy, he generated a 6-page postmortem report, which has been in his possession. He mentioned that he provided the original medical certificate of the cause of death to the deceased’s relatives and a copy to the investigator.
The medical cause of death certificate was presented as an exhibit by the pathologist. Dr. Owizz explained that during his examination, he found that Hughes, aged 45, died due to multiple stab wounds she had sustained.
He described Hughes as being 5 feet 6 inches tall, with an intact body that was not decomposed. He noted that the trunk exhibited stab wounds on the undersurface of the left breast and massive intracerebral damage in the brain. The abdomen showed seven stab wounds, but the intestines and liver were miraculously normal.
According to the pathologist, there were no pre-existing diseases that caused her to collapse. The deceased sustained seven homicidal wounds on her body. Dr. Owizz concluded that the cause of death was unnatural, and the manner was brutal and homicidal due to physical assault, blunt force injury, and acute haemorrhagic shock, which led to profuse bleeding and ultimately death.
Breaking down the cause of death, the pathologist identified three main factors that contributed to Hughes’ demise: the four homicidal stab wounds on the abdomen, one stab wound on the back, physical blunt force injury to the head, and acute haemorrhagic shock.
Subsequently, Detective Sergeant Alimamy Abu Kamara, who serves as an exhibit clerk at Kissy Police Barracks in Freetown, testified that on July 20, he received various items, including a cutlass, a hammer, a kitchen knife, and a metal object, which were handed over to him as exhibits by Police Officer M. Koroma. Kamara confirmed that these exhibits had been in police custody since then, and he produced and tendered them as evidence in court.
The fifth prosecution witness, Detective Mohamed Koroma, stated that on July 14, he received information from Detective Sergeant M. Kamara, who is attached to the Approved School Police Post. After receiving the information, he, along with Detective Sergeant I. Kamara, the Scene of Crime Officer, and other police officers, proceeded to the scene of the crime.
Upon arrival, they found Conteh lying on the floor with a knife wound on his stomach and blood oozing out. Blood stains led from where Conteh lay to the bathroom, where they discovered Hughes lying naked with multiple wounds on her body. Despite their efforts to revive her, Hughes remained unresponsive and motionless.
Detective Koroma noted the discovery of a hammer, a cutlass, a kitchen knife, and a sharp metal instrument in their kitchen. They rushed Conteh to the hospital for treatment and transported Hughes to the Connaught Mortuary for a postmortem examination. The items recovered from the scene were handed over to the exhibit clerk for safekeeping.
Statements were obtained from complainants and witnesses on July 15, and on July 24, Detective Koroma witnessed the postmortem examination conducted on Hughes. The cause of death certificate was issued at the conclusion of the postmortem.
After Detective Koroma’s testimony, the defence counsel, Randy Bangura, had no questions for him.
Following this testimony, the prosecution concluded its case. Justice Sesay then instructed the defence to prepare to present their case on the next adjourned date, which is scheduled for Wednesday, November 15, 2023 SEG/10/11/2023.