Courtmartial: Prosecution Closes Case with 37 Witnesses

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By Feima Sesay

The state prosecutor Lawyer JAK Sesay has on Wednesday 5th June 2024, having led 37 witnesses, closed case for the prosecution in the ongoing Courtmartial trial before judge advocate Mark Ngegba and board members involving 26 soldiers who were allegedly involved in the November 26th coup.

Prior to the closure of their case the state counsel applied to the court inorder to dispense with the personal attendant of 35 witnesses listed at the back of the charges sheet or otherwise notice of additional witness file, having already led 37 witnesses.

The prosecution, he said, would no longer call the remaining 35 witnesses in the interest of Justice and for the timely conclusion of the Courtmartial pursuant to cap 49 of the Arm Force of Sierra Leone Act rule 2003.

He concluded that Nobel Justice will be served if the court grant leave to dispense with the personal attendant of the 35 witnesses and that they have already filed the names of the said witnessses.

His application was granted by Judge Advocate Mark Ngegba.

Lawyer Sesay informed the court that all 26 accused persons were charged on 88 counts information on the charge sheet with several offenses.

All charges, he said, were investigation by the various commanding officers of the accused persons before the court pursuant to the provision of the Armed Forces of Sierra Leone Act 1961 as amended and the commanding officer, he said, deemed it fit that the charges should be dealt with by a courtmartial and then the said Courtmartial conveyed leading to the proceedings.

Having led 37 witnesses, he said, this was the case for the prosecution.

Lawyer Ady Macauley led defense counsel for the accused persons in reply said, they would put in their defense for the court to hear their own side and therefore asked for a short stand down to better consult whether a submission on no case would be appropriate or open their own case.

After the short stand down, he informed the court that they had had conference with the accused persons and handful of them had agreed to proceed with a no case submission including the 11, 12,15 16, 17, 19, 22, 23 & 25.

He said they had looked at the number of witnesses called by the prosecution and therefore requested for two weeks adjournment so as to enable them prepare for their submission.

Lawyer Macauley said for the 23 accused persons, he would call 3 witnesses, the 9th and 21st, he said would not call witnesses but would take the witness stand.

Lawyer AI Kamara also informed the Bench that the 2nd and 6th accuseds would have likely taken the witness stand,
Lawyer Bangura from the legal Aid board applied for the records of proceedings to be made available to the defense in order to address certain issues raised by the prosecution. His application was granted.

Judge Advocate Mark Ngegba, in reply to lawyer Ady Macauley’s application for two weeks adjournment, said the matter commenced since January and had been on for five months now, adding that two weeks was too much since the defense were served with the bulk of the exhibits.

He however granted a week adjournment instead of two and the matter was adjourned to Wednesday 12th June 2024 for further hearing.

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