19 February 2013

Sierra Leone: Photocopy Analysis Not Acceptable in Court

Defence lawyer F.B. Kelfala last Thursday challenged Magistrate Komba Kamanda of Court No.2 that photocopy analysis should not be tendered in court but the original analysis. He made the statement about Michael Lahai, a forensic pharmacist who tendered a forensic photocopy analysis on behalf of 12 accused persons - Isha Bangura, Louisa Karim, Emmah Kamara, Pa Sorie Bangura, Mustapha Bangura, Kadiatu Baby Saffa, Anita John, Wilfred Showers, Tina Thompson, Neneh Barrie, Fatmata Sowa and Zainabu Denkeh - who were allegedly found in possession of 15.21g cocaine on Friday December 7, 2012 at Lumley Street in the central part of Freetown.

While being crossed examined, the forensic pharmacist, Michael Lahai, said that he received a suspected substance that he tested to be cocaine on December 11, 2012,saying a photocopy of the forensic result was forwarded to the Transnational Crime Unit of the Sierra Leone Police.

Defence lawyers F. Edward and Emmanuel T. Koroma also cross-examined Detective Police Sergeant S.E. Conteh attached to the Transnational Crime Unit at Murray Town, who said that the second and third accused persons denied the allegation but were still charged on three counts of unlawful possession of cocaine, dealing with hard drug and selling hard drug. The sixth accused (Kadiatu Baby Saffa) also denied the allegations, saying she was selling drinks at the bar when she was arrested. Lawyer Kelfala applied for bail on behalf of the 12 accused persons, urging the court not to continue with the case.

Police prosecutor Sergeant 1933 A.M. Jah said that the document cannot be expunged if the witness admitted that the document tendered is a photocopy and the counsel relied on the document tendered according to Section 70 of the National Drug Act.

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