By Sahr Eric George
Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – In a recent court session, Emmanuel Komba Banya successfully played a video evidence displaying the accused persons vandalizing a church and setting it partly ablaze. This marks the conclusion of his testimony, which began last year, concerning an alleged theft and vandalism at the Gateway Evangelistic Ministry Church in Quarry, Kissy, Freetown.
Banya, testifying under the guidance of state prosecutor James Momodu Sesay, informed Magistrate Sahr Kekura of Pademba Road Magistrate Court No 1 that he had recorded a video of the incident on his Samsung Galaxy A11 phone. As promised in his previous testimony in 2023, he presented the evidence in court, displaying it on a smart TV via a flash drive.
After playing the video evidence, Banya submitted his phone and the flash drive as evidence in the case. The eight accused persons, including Alpha Bangura, Parteh Jalloh, Dauda Jalloh, Santigie Koroma, and Abdul Bangura, made their second appearance before Magistrate Kekura to answer to six counts, including conspiracy, arson, and sacrilege.
The police alleged that on September 24, 2023, at the Gateway Evangelistic Ministry Church in Quarry, Kissy, the accused persons conspired to break into the church. They were accused of stealing items such as two Lenovo Laptop computers, one iPhone 13 pro-max, one ultra-Samsung mobile phone, ten yards of carpet, and attempting to set fire to the church. The police further claimed that the accused persons maliciously damaged various items within the church, including window glass, plasma televisions, computers, a Yamaha keyboard, a Canon video camera, a steel door, a CCTV camera, and a solar light, amounting to a total value of three hundred and twenty-seven thousand Leones (Le 327,000).
During the proceedings, Julian Cole, the defence counsel, objected to the number of videos in the flash drive. He requested that the prosecution label each video recording with a number to avoid confusion.
In response to Cole’s objection, Sesay assured that he would address this concern by numbering each video recording in the drive before the next adjourned date.
Magistrate Kekura granted the accused persons their previous bail, and the matter was adjourned to January 29, 2024. SEG/25/1/2024