Sierra Leone Telegraph: 30 August 2019:
Twenty-three members and supporters of Sierra Leone’s main opposition APC who were arrested in Freetown for various offences, ranging from riotous and violent conduct to destruction of property, were today granted bail after their case was committed to the High Court.
Bail conditions for each of the accused were set by Justice Simeon Alieu at the High Court No.1 at Two Hundred Million Leones (Le200,000,000) plus one surety, who must be a resident in the Western Area; and that each surety providing individual proof of address, along with their Identification Cards to the Master and Registrar of Courts. All accused were also required to surrender their travel documents with the Court.
The accused were arrested and charged after violence broke out on Monday 29th July 2019, at Hamilton village in Freetown, where it is alleged that they attacked the parliamentary by-election candidate of the SLPP – Josephine Jackson, destroying property and causing grievous bodily harm.
The 23 have been named as: Ibrahim Conteh, Dauda kallon, Mohammed Alafia Sesay, Karamoh Kabba, Christopher Jones, Ishmael Koroma, Alhaji Kamara, Ishmael Conteh, Brima Marah, Mohammed Sesay, Abdullai Bundu, Momodu Sesay, Baba Kargbo, Mohammed Jalloh, Mohammed Sesay, Amara Kanneh, Moses Musa Koroma, Victor Dougherty, Osman Conteh, Musa Samura, Mohammed Kamara, Sorie Gabriel and Marie Pastor Kamara.
Lead defence Counsel – Melron Nicole-Wilson Esq. requested bail for the accused who had already spent over a month in jail, after being denied bail by Magistrate Hannah Bonnie.
Counsel – Melron Nicole-Wilson Esq told the Judge that the accused persons are entitled to their basic right to the presumption of innocence – a constitutional right which he said is guaranteed by section 23(4) of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone.
He told the court that: “The accused persons has been behind bars for over 4 weeks now, and all accused persons with traveling documents are willing to surrender them to show commitment to the trial. They also have reliable sureties to enter into their recognizance,” and that the accused will not interfere with the prosecution witness, nor will they jump bail. He assured that all accused persons will be present on all adjourned dates.
In response, State Counsel Y.R. Sesay Esq. said that the prosecution is not adverse to bail, but drew the court’s attention to the nature of the offenses, alleged to have been committed by the accused. (Photo above: Defence counsels for the accused led by Barrister Melron Nicole-Wilson Esq – dressed in head wig).
“You must consider the nature of the offenses of Public Order Offenses, Wounding with Intent contrary to section 18, Wounding Contrary to Section 20, Malicious Damage contrary to section 11, 12, and 51 of Offenses Against the Persons act of 1965,” Sesay Esq. added.
After granting bail, Judge Simeon Alieu ordered that the accused return to the High Court on 18th September, 2019, for commencement of trial.
They have all been charged with riotous conduct, disorderly behaviour, throwing missiles, malicious damage, grievous bodily harm, wounding with intent, threatening language, public insult, assault – occasioning bodily harm, provocation and abusive language, and other related chargers.
But the APC party has expressed concern for the continued detention of its former mayor of Freetown – Herbert Williams and the former chief of staff at State House – Dr Richard Konteh.
“The Western region APC Chapter would like to expresses its immeasurable appreciation to the lead defence counsel – Melron Nicol Wilson (Esq) and team, for their professional and outstanding representation, providing bail for our family members who were unlawfully detained and unjustifiably denied bail against the principles of human rights, justice, fair trial and dignity,” a statement by the Western Region APC Chapter reads.
Source Credit: Ishmahil O.T. Bangura