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Sierra Leone News: Judge assures military officers of a fair trial

The presiding Judge in the on-going court martial trial at the Military Headquarters in Cockeril, Justice Momohjah Stevens has assured Captain Patrick Kamara, Samuel Conteh and Abu Bakarr Jalloh of a fair and speedy trial. The Judge made his pronouncement after the opening address of the State Counsel, Alieu Vandy, where he called on the judge and his team to dismiss the accused if they fail to prove their case beyond all reasonable doubt, adding that if they also unravel sufficient evidence against the accused the law should take its rightful course. Justice Momohja underscored that he has a very credible board, that will help him to carry such a mantle. According to the Judge, “the accused are presumed innocent”, noting that unless the court finds them guilty based on the evidence, which the prosecution will present. He maintained that the onus is on the prosecution to prove their case beyond the 99.99 % mark. The trio are before the Court Martial to answer to five counts, ranging from Conspiracy, Larceny by Servant, Wilful neglect and ordering damage to service property, wilful damage of service property, to conduct that was prejudicial to the group order and military discipline contrary to the Armed Forces of the Republic of Sierra Leone Act No.34 of 1961 as amended. Between 1 January 2008 and 19 June 2018 in Freetown, the accused were alleged to have stolen from the government of Sierra Leone, conspired with other persons unknown to unlawfully agreeing to steal over 4,245 rounds of 12.7 millimeter AA rounds, 3828 rounds of 14.4 millimeter AA rounds, 11 RPG, 6 rounds of 7.62/39 millimeter gun, 14,100 rounds of 7.62/39 millimeters tracer and 6,740 rounds of 7.62/51 millimeters bird wink amongst many others.

MJB/9/1/19

By Mohamed J. Bah

Thursday January 10, 2019.

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