From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, No Bail for Rado Yokie, 13 Others Again
By Dauda Koroma
Oct 14, 2011, 17:16

It was a red letter day again yesterday October 13, 2011, when the SLPP Member of Parliament of Constituency 68 in Bo District Honourable Foday Rado Yokie and 13 others were refused bail for the second time by Magistrate Johanese Wellington of Court No2 in Freetown.

 

The 13 others sent back to Pademba Road jail include Alhaji Abdulai Sesay, Abdulai Bangura, Sheka Kamara, Maada Amara Conteh, Dauda Yakanah, Mustapha Massaquoi, Patrick Jombo, Josie Ibrahim Manga, Ibrahim Foray Jakema and Kenneth Koker.

 

There was early morning drama in Magistrate Wellingtons court between the prosecuting team led by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice Frank Kargbo and the defence team led by the SLPP National Secretary General Sulaiman Banja Tejan-Sie with the surprise inclusion of the Peoples Movement for Democratic Change PMDC leader Charles Margai in the team.

 

Chief prosecutor Frank Kargbo started the drama by asking all those who were not supposed to witness the court proceedings to leave the courtroom. But lawyer Charles Margai immediately denounced Frank Kargbos submission by saying that the trial is a public one and so the public has the right to witness it. Magistrate Wellington however kept silent on this issue.


In his submission, lawyer Sulaiman Banja Tejan-Sie told the court that certain media houses are reporting that the suspects are criminals even though the court is yet to prove them guilty. He also said the United Democratic Movement leader Mohamed Bangura has already made prejudicial statements calling the 14 suspects as criminals.

 

However, the Attorney General Frank Kargbo reacted strongly by informing lawyer Banja Tejan-Sie that Tamba Sam the SLPP Publicity Secretary should also stop making unnecessary utterances about the case as it is still in court. Magistrate Wellington later joined the unfolding drama by reminding the press to always report exactly what happen in the court.

 

Addressing the court, Charles Margai said they should not waste time but to invoke section 136 and make an amendment of count 2 which is malicious damage of 1861 instead of 1816. But Principal State Counsel Gerald Soyie quoted Section 105 Sub-Section (1) of the Criminal Procedure Act No 34 of 1965. Lawyer Charles Margai however opposed lawyer Soyies submission and noted that it should be under Section 148 Sub-Section (1).

 

Based on the arguments put forward by the defence and the prosecution, Magistrate Wellington said he would only allow the submission of the defence if they put their case in order. The Attorney General however stated that he blamed the defence team for failing to bring witnesses to commence the case.

 

On the bail applications, lawyer Charles Margai noted that the accused persons should be granted bail as they will not interfere with the prosecution witnesses and assured the court that the suspects will not jump bail. He said they are not flight risk and that they have credible sureties to stand for them. But the Justice Minister Frank Kargbo was not convinced so he opposed the granting of bail.

 

After hearing both submissions, Magistrate Johannese Wellington ruled against the bail applications and later decided to send all 14 accused persons, including SLPP MP Rado Yokie, to remand at Pademba Road Prisons.

 

Outside the court, supporters of the SLPP were visibly upset and angry with the ruling. They said the trial is not fair and described the trial as selective justice and they vowed to continue to cause noise until justice is done.


Also present in court were SLPP big guns including Mr. John Oponjo Benjamin, the SLPP National Executive Chairman, former SLPP aspirant Alpha Timbo and the SLPP Womens leader Isata Jabbie Kabbah and others. The matter was adjourned to next Friday October 21, 2011.



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