At Courtmartial Hearing:Judge Advocate Dismisses Defense Counsel No Case Submission

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By Feima Sesay

The judge advocate Mark Ngegba presiding over the ongoing Courtmartial trial has on Thursday 27 June, 2024 dismissed the no case submissions made by defense Counsel on behalf of six accused persons.

During their No case to answer submission they indicated that the accused persons had no case to answer before the court and therefore should be discharged accordingly.

The accused include, the 11th accused who was standing trial before the court on seven count charges, 15th accused Sergeant Momoh Kargbo was standing trial before the court on twenty count charges,16th accused Adekalie Turay was arrainged before the court on nine count charges, 19 accused WO2 Sitta Dumbuya was standing trial before the court on four count charges, 22 accused Alpha Turay was before the court on five count charges and 25 accused was before the court on seven count charges.

The learned judge advocate said all the accused persons were serving members of the Arm Force Sierra Leone.

Delivering his ruling, judge advocate Mark Ngegba said the accused were arrainged before the court on eighty eight (88) count charges which include mutiny, failure to suppress mutiny, murder, aiding the enemy, communicating with the enemy, conspiracy to commit mutiny and other related offences.

He said the Prosecution called thirty 37 witnesses to testify and one hundred and eight (108) exhibits were tendered before the court.

He furthered that in the case of the eleventh accused, the evidence against him came from the cyber officer Inspector Mohamed Jusu in his exhibit showed pictures of the accused in military uniform holding a rifle.

He said the accused in his statement made to the military police at first denied knowing Koita but later admitted that Koita sent him the sum of one thousand, five hundred new Leones.

The judge advocate said In that case the Prosecution had proven the offense of conspiracy and it had been established that the accused conspired with other persons to overthrow the government and therefore dismissed the no case submission of defense Counsel.

In the case of the fifteen accused Staff Sergeant Momoh Kargbo the judge advocate said the Prosecution stated that he travelled from Lungi to Freetown without a valid welfare pass that was not signed by authorities.

He said the accused in his statement said he did not know that the pass given to him by Sergeant Mattia was fake.
He furthered that the accused also told the military police that he obtained the said pass to attend family function and he admitted that he regretted not handling over the military land cruiser that was assigned to him to the authorities.

The judge advocate said this bit of evidence implied that the Prosecution had made a prima facie case against the accused and so the no case submission made by defense Counsel was demised and he should continue his trial.

On behalf of the sixteenth accused Adekalie Turay, the Judge Advocate said in his statement said he was arrested at the office of Lans Coporal Kamara at Cockril headquarters.
He said before the arrest at night, he and another soldier was at the gate but later move down to the corridor close to the office of Lans Coporal Richard.

The learned judge said the accused stated that whiles at the corridor, he saw Staff Sergeant Abu Dauda and one other soldier entered the gate and they walked towards the corridor and started opening firing and there was cross firing in the barrack but could not identify the type of rifles they were using, adding that they were wearing military uniform.

The learned judge furthered that the accused moreover told the military police that while the firing was on-going, he heard a blast where he sustained injury on his hand.

He said the accused on that note said he then ran into the office of WO2 Sitta Dumbuya who offer first aid treatment and was later taken to the hospital.

He said the accused furthered that he also saw Koita and he was engaged in a serious firing.
The judge advocate Mark Ngegba said the accused, in his statement indicated that he saw Koita looked alarming.

He added that Koita was an enemy and should have informed authorities but instead went into an office and took first aid treatment.
He said the accused has a case to answer and so he should open his defense and he therefore dismissed the no case submission made by the defense Counsel.

In the case of the nineteenth accused WO2 Sitta Dumbuya, the Prosecution said, he was in his office administering first aid treatment to Staff Sergeant Adekalie Turay and when asked to open the door by other soldiers, he became afraid to open the door until he was forced to do so.

The learned judge said the accused in his statement said on that day, he went on duty at Cockiril and when he reached at the gate, he met late Sergeant Conteh and staff Sergeant Adekalie Turay who told him that he had been injured and he gave him first aid treatment.

The judge advocate furthered that why did the accused deny opening the door when commanded by fellow soldiers.
He said in that case the Prosecution has proved a case against the accused on the offense of mutiny which meant he has knowledge of what was happening. He therefore dismissed the no case submission of defense Counsel.

In respect of the twenty two accused Alpha Turay, the Judge Advocate said in his statements to the Military police, the accused said before the incident, he received a call from one Amadu who asked him to assist them with weapons and he asked him how he got his number and the said Amadu told him that it was Sergeant Janneh that gave his number to him.

The judge advocate said the accused also told the military police that he then told the caller that he would not be able to give him weapon and he blocked the said number but failed to inform authorities about it and that was a mistake on his part.

Judge advocate Mark Ngegba said the Prosecution had also established the offense of failure to suppress mutiny against the accused and therefore dismissed the no case submission of defense Counsel.

The twenty fifth accused the judge advocate said in his statement confessed communicating with Koita and corporal Koroma, adding that they were colleagues.
He also confessed that Koita told him that he would be coming to Freetown and what came to his mind was that Koita was going to overthrow the government but he did not inform authorities and the incident, he said, happened one week after their communication.

The learned judge furthered that this act clearly showed conspiracy.
He said the Prosecution had adduced sufficient evidence against the accused and so the no case submission of defense Counsel was dismissed.

He therefore ruled that all the submissions made on behalf of the accused were dismissed and ordered that the defense open their case.

The defense Counsel sought for a date to put up a robust defense.
The matter was adjourned to Monday 1st July, 2024.

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