There has been some puzzlement over the decision by the APC-led Government of Sierra Leone to file criminal charges against former soldiers believed to have already been certified by the same Government of Sierra Leone as clinically insane. Most prosecutors avoid the embarrassment of charging insane persons only to have a Psychiatrist testify as to them being mentally challenged and not responsible for their actions.
However, other sources allege the soldiers who have been charged are not amongst the those certified to be mentally ill. Please see below for our coverage of yesterday’s court proceedings.
14 Counts of Criminal Charges for Defence Minister's Attackers
By Michael T. Kamara
Magistrate Komba Kamanda of Court No.2 on Monday 6th August 2012 remanded seven (7) ex-combatants who attacked the Minister of Defense, Mr. Paolo Conteh recently, at the Pademba Road Prisons in Freetown.
The suspects, Yusufu Kamara, Roy Nicole, Steven Saidu, Fayia Musa, Amara Kamara, Mohamed Thoronka and Samuel Thomas made their first appearance before Magistrate Kamanda on fourteen (14) counts of various charges ranging from Conspiracy to Commit a Crime, Riotous Conduct Contrary to Section 12 of the Public Order Act of 1965, Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm Contrary to Section 47 of the Offence Against the Persons Act of 1861, Throwing Stones Contrary to Section 6 of the Public Order Act 1964 and Malicious Damage Contrary to Section 51 of the Malicious Damage Act of 1861.
The particulars of offence stated that, the suspects on Thursday 2nd August 2012 at State Avenue in Freetown, conspired together with other persons unknown in a riotous manner, to occasioning bodily harm, throwing stones at the Ministry of Defense, and maliciously causing damage to vehicles with registration numbers AFR 901, AFV 776 and AGV 875. The suspects also are charged with damaging a Jacket of the Honourable Minister of Defense, Mr. Paolo Conteh.
Lawyer Sulaiman Bah, representing the state, opposed to bail and applied for an adjournment of the matter since none of the accused persons were with legal representation in court.
He said the offences are very serious, adding that the area where they committed the offences is a very honored and respectable venue and that the victim is also a public officer. Lawyer Bah insisted that the accused be remanded as they are threats to national security.
Magistrate Kamanda said considering the seriousness of the offences alleged to have been committed, he will deny bail and thus remanded them in prison. He then adjourned the matter to Monday 13th August 2012.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.