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NEWS : Local News  

Sierra Leone Police Officer to face Manslaughter Trial for Killing Bike Rider
By Michael T. Kamara
Jan 17, 2013, 17:17
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Magistrate Komba Kamanda of Court No. 2 on Tuesday 15th January, 2013 committed a now-dismissed police officer of the Operation Support Division (OSD), Augustine Bangura who was facing a preliminary hearing on allegations of Murder following the shooting death on Friday 15th June, 2012 at Mambo Village in the York Rural District in the Republic of Sierra Leone of a motorbike rider, Mohamed Sullayman Quraishi.

 

In his ruling on the matter, Magistrate Kamanda stated in court that, the accused was standing on one count charge of murder contrary to law. He stated further that, the Prosecution called in five witnesses including the Pathologist (medical doctor) who said the victim died of a single gun shot wound from which he bled to death. He furthered that Prosecution Witnesses-1&2 (PW-1&2) who were police officer colleagues of the deceased, testified that they mounted a checkpoint at Goderich every night and that on fateful night they received information that a commercial motorbike (Okada) was missing in the community. The witnesses, he said told the court that few minutes later the deceased bulldozed the checkpoint with a motorbike which led to him being chased and eventually the shooting by the accused that subsequently led to his death.

 

The Magistrate further revealed in his ruling the Defence lawyers, S. K. Koroma and P. Squire made submission that the action of the accused was not out no malice, or intentional of murder.

 

Magistrate Kamanda said the prosecution at that stage said they relied on their evidence. He however told the court that it is also possible that the rider was involved in bad act because it was proven that he had indeed bulldozed the checkpoint and did not obey a lawful police order to stop. The learned Magistrate however maintained that the law does not give the right to police officers to kill armed robbers let alone mere suspects of who bulldozed checkpoints.


According to him, he found enough evidence for which the police officer should be tried at the High Court for Manslaughter. He thus committed the matter to the High Court for manslaughter based on the evidence. He refused to commit for Murder because he said the evidence did not sustain a charge of murder. The Magistrate said if police officers on duty are sent to jail for discharging their duties in dealing with suspected armed robbers, then armed robbery will become rampant in the country as the criminals will now work with impunity and fearlessly.

 

The Defence Lawyer, S. K. Koroma then applied for bail on the grounds that the Magistrate has committed the accused for manslaughter which is a bailable offence, adding that the accused has already lost his job as a result of the offence and has been incarcerated all these months since the incident. His client, he said has respectable sureties to stand on his behalf. He went on to state that the attack on police officers is on the rise and that the accused was charged for his duty.

 

The prosecution did not object to the application made by Defence Lawyer and as result of that, Magistrate Kamanda committed the accused Augustine Bangura to the High Court for manslaughter and admitted him to a bail of fifty million leones and two sureties which  bail conditions should be double-checked and approved by Master & Registrar of the High Court.


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