You can’t keep a good woman like Freetown Mayor Aki-Sawyerr down – Op ed

Alan Luke: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 November 2022:

Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyer has returned to Sierra Leone following her attendance at COP27, where she represented Freetown and Sierra Leone on the World Stage. Her presence at COP27 was significant, given President Bio’s absence at this major world summit, which is focused on addressing climate change.

Despite her efforts and dedication to promoting the image of Sierra Leone; meeting with world leaders  at COP27,  including US House of Representative Speaker; Nancy Pelosi (Photo above: Mayor Aki-Sawyerr and Mrs Nancy Pelosi – speaker of the United States House of Representatives), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director general of the World Trade Organization, Baroness Patricia Scotland, Secretary General of the Commonwealth and HE Mia Amor Mottled, Prime Minister of Barbados, Mayor Aki-Sawyer will return to court on Monday, as the State continues with the charade and trumped up charges against her, accused of obstructing the Police in the course of their duties and behaving in a disorderly manner.

Ahead of her appearance at Magistrates Court No1 tomorrow Monday, this is what transpired in court on Friday 4 November 2022:

Insp Mohamed Jusu was cross-examined by Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, defence counsel. He had given evidence that he checked the authenticity of the video recording made by Mayor Aki-Sawyerr and was certain that it was authentic video footage. Defence counsel asked Insp Jusu if he is a Police Officer. The latter confirmed that he is and had served in the Sierra Leone Police Force for seventeen years and that he had served in the Cybercrime Unit for twelve years.

Defense Counsel asked Insp Jusu if he has a university degree and Insp Jusu answered that he doesn’t. Defense Counsel went on to ask Insp Jusu what qualifications he had in his capacity as a “cyber expert”. Bizarrely, as the defence counsel continued to cross-examine Isp Jusu about his qualifications, he resorted to responding to the questions by reading his responses from a prepared script. Defence counsel informed Insp Jusu that if he wanted to rely on prepared answers, then he must seek permission from the magistrate. Magistrate Ngeba was happy to permit Mr Jusu to rely on the prepared answers.

Defence counsel then asked Isp Jusu if he has reviewed the video thoroughly. He confirmed that he has. Defence counsel asked him if this was the same video that was shown in court on Wednesday 2nd November 2022. He confirmed that it was. Defence counsel asked him, if the Police have come with a Projector Screen so that the video could be replayed. He said that the police have not done so. Defence counsel requested that a Projector screen was provided so that the video clip could be played.

After more than one hour of waiting, a Projector screen was brought to the court. Defence counsel informed Insp Jusu that Mayor Aki-Sawyerr was speaking to the public in her Facebook Live broadcast. She was not speaking to police officers at Lungi Police Station, and that the video did not show Mayor Aki-Sawyer speaking to police at the counter or while they were taking statements. There was no obstruction of any police activity recorded in the video clip.

Defence counsel further asserted that Mayor Aki-Sawyer had the right to express herself because, police had arrested her colleague, Councillor Sheku Alasine Gibril Turay without a warrant, minutes before both were due to board a plane to attend the UN meetings in New York.

Defence counsel put it to Insp Jusu that Councillor Turay had been arrested without warrant. Insp Jusu confirmed that this was the case. Defence counsel then said that Mayor Aki-Sawyer had not touched any police officer or prevented them from doing their work. Insp Jusu denied that this was the case and said that she had obstructed police activity. In response, defence counsel requested that the video be played so that the court could see if Mayor Aki-Sawyerr had touched any police officer while making the Facebook Live video.

The Facebook Live recording was played, and it did not show Mayor Aki-Sawyerr touching any police officers at Lungi. Defence counsel put it to Insp Jusu that there was no evidence of obstruction of police duties, as he had alleged. Insp Jusu’s response was that the way the mayor was speaking during her Facebook Live video led him to believe that she was likely to cause obstruction.

Defence counsel asked him if he had studied psychology and Insp Jusu acknowledged that he had not studied psychology. Defence counsel asked him if he was a qualified psychoanalyst, to be able to form the view that the way the mayor spoke during her Facebook Live video would have led her to obstruct the police in their duties. “How were you able to detect this?” defence counsel asked.

Defence counsel put it to the witness that he did not have the competence to analyse the mayor’s state of mind when she made the Facebook Live recording. Defense counsel then read from Insp Jusu’s report in which he quoted the mayor as using the word “turmoil” during her Facebook Live recording. Defense counsel put it to Insp Jusu that the mayor never used the word turmoil, but Insp Jusu had written that word because it meant “confusion, obstruction” which was reflected in Insp Jusu’s biased state of mind in respect of the mayor.

Defense counsel maintained that Insp Jusu was biased about the mayor and so he wrote “turmoil” even though the mayor never said that. The video recording was then played again, and everyone heard clearly that Mayor Aki-Sawyerr stated that an announcement was made over the “tannoy” requesting that Councillor Turay should present to immigration. At this point Insp Jusu admitted that he had misunderstood and misinterpreted the mayor. He accepted that the mayor said “tannoy” (which is a PA System) and not “turmoil”.

Defence counsel put it to Insp Jusu that he was a biased witness. He referred Insp Jusu to page 3 and 4 of his report on his analysis of the video clip, in which he concluded that Mayor Aki-Sawyerr was angry and aggressive. Defence counsel put it to the witness that his conclusion was biased and not based on any science. He described the witness’s conclusions as high prejudice against Mayor Aki-Sawyer. He said that the witness’ conclusions were based on what he thought, not based on what occurred.

Defence counsel put it to Insp Jusu that the mayor had not acted in any violent manner at all. Insp Jusu accepted that at no time in the video had the mayor moved, touched anyone or been violent. Defence counsel asked Insp Jusu – “if the mayor was not violent, why did you state that in your report?”

Defense counsel put it to Insp Jusu that this was a “moray man” testimony because there was no way Insp Jusu could know what the mayor was thinking. He also pointed out that nowhere in the video did the mayor mention a statement being made by the councillor. Insp Jusu accepted that the mayor never mentioned a statement in the video. Defence counsel again put it to the witness that he did not have the competence to draw such a conclusion about the mayor’s possible imaginary actions.

Magistrate Ngeba adjourned the hearing until tomorrow 14 November 2022. The farce continues, but all attempts by the Bio government to prevent Mayor Aki-Sawyerr from contesting the Freetown mayoralty in 2023 will fail.


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