Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 August 2020:
High Court Judge – Justice Cosmotina Jarrett, yesterday granted bail to the former Freetown City Council Mayor – Mr. Herbert George Williams and Mr. Abu Bakarr Daramy.
Human Rights Lawyer – Melron Nicole-Wilson secured their bail, after both Williams and Daramy had spent several months in detention, accused of murder, following the death of a local journalist during an election campaign.
It is alleged that both accused were involved in beating the journalist, who weeks later died. But defence lawyers argue that at the time of the alleged incident, the deceased had serious pre-existing health conditions, and did not die of injuries sustained from an alleged violent confrontation.
Bail requests had previously been denied by the State, and for a Judge to now decide to grant bail suggests that the prosecution’s case is either weak or the evidence is seriously flawed, thus making it unsafe to continue to hold the accused in detention.
Justice Jarret was confident in granting self-bail which means that the accused did not have to provide sureties to sign on their behalf.
Both Williams (Photo) and Daramy are members of the main opposition All People’s Congress Party (APC) which narrowly lost the elections held in March 2018.
Since the sacking of former Attorney General and minister of Justice – Priscilla Schwartz and the appointment of the highly experienced and well respected Barrister – Anthony Brewah, there has been a gradual, though slow-paced change in the SLPP government’s attitude towards opposition politicians accused of wrongdoing by the government.
Brewah is characterised by many as quiet and friendly in disposition with a ready smile. He started his early career as a secondary school teacher after graduating from Njala University, south of the country. He taught for several years and later went to Fourah Bay College in Freetown where he studied Law. He is one of the earliest products of the FBC Law department set up in the late 1980s.
Anthony Brewah (Photo) who hails from Taiama, Moyamba district, southern Sierra Leone, is the proprietor of and until his appointment as Attorney General – a senior lawyer at Brewah and Co Chambers.
Despite his easy-going manner and disposition, he is said to be highly principled and can be tough if necessary. He is also regarded as one of Sierra Leone’s most experienced lawyers with a profound knowledge of the country’s legal system.
With this appointment as Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Brewah is thought to have stepped into the shoes of his late uncle Luseni Brewah who was Attorney-General and Minister of Justice in the early 1970s.
It is now hoped that this gradual cooling of political temperature could help release some of the political tension in the country and promote national cohesion.
But in another related development yesterday, it was also reported that the former defence minister – Retired Major Palo Conteh, who was cleared a few months ago of treason by a jury at the High Court but found guilty of unlawfully possessing guns, was once again denied bail at a separate court hearing.
Palo Conteh remains in detention as his trial continues at the Appeals Court in Freetown, after his lawyers launched an appeal against the two-counts charge for which he was found guilty at his treason trial.
The case involving former Freetown Mayor Herbert George Williams and Abu Bakarr Daramy continues, after both were granted bail yesterday.
Ibrahim Samura was my colleague in the SLP. We crossed paths again at the Special Court of Sierra Leone. He was Defense Investigator whilst I worked as a Investigator in the office of the prosecution. His loyalty to the APC and Brookfields where he was born and grew up was never in question. He was sacked and prosecuted at Special Court because he leaked information about protected witnesses to APC operatives who in turn leaked the information to the AFRC accused. Without job and income Samura reinvented himself in 2008 to become a journalist. He was a fearless one. Why the APC members including the Mayor, Daramy and daughter of president Koroma attacked, beat him and forcefully take away his camera because he took photos of their rude and riotous behaviour at Lumley roundabout remain a mystery to most of us who knew the late Ibrahim Samura.
After the incident Samura accompanied by his so-called friend Mamoud Tim Kargbo went to the Lumley police station where he made a report. He identified the two accused and others as the perpetrators. The APC was still in power. He was issued medical form which he took to the hospital and was endorsed. He made statement identifying his attackers. The police dragged the investigation even though the victim was their former colleague. When the APC lost the election, the party brass including the secretary general, the two accused and a representative of the Koroma family went to the family home of the accused to plead for the matter to be dropped. The family persuaded the accused and he consented to withdraw the matter from the police. Few months into the SLPP governance, the accused developed complications in his head.
He died and the post mortem report state that he died from blunt trumor in the head. The Attorney General Charles Margai decided to indict only Mayor William and Daramy and left out the daughter of president Koroma. During the trial, Samura so called friend Mamoud Tim Kargbo who was present during the assault and who accompanied the decease to the Lumley police station, surprisingly testified that the crowd was large and so he was unable to tell as to whether or not the two accused did hit the decease. Rest in peace Samura. Politics have taken primacy over your death and today some of the person clamouring for the lives lost in Makeni are playing politics with your death.
It’s a good development that the accused were granted bail. It should be remembered however, that a human being, who happened to be a journalist, lost his life. He was somebody’s brother,son, uncle – a blood relative of somebody. This should never be minimised.
I wonder how many of us would maintain an easy temper knowing that a relative of ours met his death at the hands of someone. The deceased may have had a pre-existing condition, but had he not been beaten up, his condition would probably not have worsened to the degree of fatality. The case has been a stark illustration of the dangers of journalism in our country. It’s about time the laws to protect journalists in our country got strengthened, especially now that the libel laws have been eased after more than half a century on the books.
My heart goes out to the family of the deceased whom wthey will never see again until they join him on the other side . The hope is that the law was strictly followed in the granting of bail rather than emotions and pressure behind the scenes. In Sierra Leone these days the lines of demarcation of the three branches of government are extremely blurred. Political vendetta and revenge are the culprits.
Good to hear it – Mr williams and Paolo Conteh and others must know that there are some of us that are deeply loyal to certain principles and values in Sierra Leone who never even for a minute forgot their plight and the grave injustices that they were being brutally subjected to under this President’s New Direction aggressive repressive system and bizarre style of governance. Honestly, there has been none on this glorious forum as fearless, patriotic and resolute as a Stargazer that openly challenges the legitimacy of the arrest of Mayor Williams and others being held illegally in custody of SLPP Gestapos.
Gentlemen take heart, all is not yet lost, the truth will always prevail and outshine the wicked scheming vultures that thrive only in the shadows and darkness. In the end you will both soar like gentle doves freely and happily towards unreachable dimensions of boundless favors,mercies and blessings existence has long been keeping secretly in store for you.
Finally,when the stars come out at night and twinkle in utter mesmerizing delight,remember to light up a smile without any sign of trouble as bright as an evening candle,and then remember to gaze intently at the merciful heavens,giving thanks for all of them in ecstasy and joy,just for knowing without a shred of doubt that one of them up there blinking winking and sending greetings to you,surely truly represents the unquenchable light of winners that glimmers and forever shines on you.
No matter what the case is, a JOURNALIST represents the voice and justice of a democratic nation.We pray and hope they will be OBJECTIVE in their dealings, findings and reporting. But NO ONE has the right to beat them up, to attack them whilst and when they are doing their jobs. No one has the right to beat anyone up especially grown ups. These are NOT your children in school where a SAFE corporal punishment is allowed. Most importantly, people have to STOP attributing lawlessness crimes especially one that have the victims killed to PRE- EXISTING CONDITIONS of the victims.They had the conditions prior to, and were living with those conditions before they were beaten up.
I do not say that the perpetrators should be thrown and kept in prison for ever, but they should not also let the death of the poor journalist go in vain.Did the beatings exacebate his preexisting conditions? If TRUTH and FAIR JUSTICE is not done in this case, it will send the wrong message out. Patriots will no longer be willing to do the work of Journalism, thinking that their lives are not that valued, and thus will NOT put themselves in harm’s ways as many do in order to bring the TRUTH to the public and for the COMMON GOOD.
I think its within the powers of president Bio to pardon Palo conteh and others, that are caught up in tbis political trials, and stop this circus in our country. I hope the new appointment Mr Brewah is a breath of fresh air. And under his leadership, the judiciary will play its part by being independent. We need the President to bring the people of our country together and marshall their efforts to face our greatest enemy the Covid19 pandemic.Sierra Leoneans just need direction,and honest politicians, they don’t need charity from anyone. These court cases are a real distraction. This pandamic is not only a threat to our economic wellbeing, but our security as well.
Anyone who argued otherwise should have their brains checked. Unfortunately due to the effects of covid19, there will be a lot of businesses that will go under, which will spike the unemployment rate especially amongst the youths. Make no mistake even if a vaccine is found today, We will still be in a situation where our country is faced with the daunting challenges for the next few months and years ahead.
The covid19 have left a lot of deaths, and pose real and present danger to the economies both to developed and developing economies rigt across the globe. A country like ours, where there is not a strong foundation for economics growth, corruption is rife, coupled with the security worries in the country, its not going to be an easy fix. To that end strong leadership, and a transparent way of doing tbings is the untmost important.May God bless Sierra Leone.
Gradually there is some semblance of rationality in dispensing justice in our beloved nation. Time and again, patriotic Sierra Leoneans across the divide have been advocating for a moderate approach in litigating politically sensitive cases, owing to the fact that the propensity to destabilize our nation is great. Nonetheless, the current PAOPA regime extremists were laser focus on implementing political retribution and revenge, caring less about the ramifications that might ensue.
With a mere stooge, lacking basic understanding of our nation’s laws and constitution appointed as an attorney general, Ms. Pricilla Schwartz was ever readied to pull the trigger towards opposition targets the moment an order is given from the extremist camp. Now that a well establish legal luminary is in charge of justice dispensation, we are hoping for the rule of law and justice devoid of political sentiments to take hold.