Sierra Leone: Dr. Blyden's Alleged Defamation Video Footages Played in Court

A magistrate court in Freetown yesterday played eighteen video footages shared on social media in which Dr. Sylvia O. Blyden allegedly defamed President Julius Maada Bio.

Dr. Blyden, together with Hussein Mukson Sesay, is before the court on ten counts of defamation related charges contrary to the Public Order Act of 1965. The latter is charged with one count of perverting the course of justice.

Police claimed that Dr. Blyden sent series of video footages on WhatsApp which are deemed to be defamatory to the President.

Detective Police Constable, Alpha Sesay, had told the court in his testimony on 14th September, 2020, that a 4G memory card which contains eighteen videos was retrieved from one Lenovo computer belonging to the first accused. The said memory card was later tendered as exhibit.

During yesterday's hearing, the said WhatsApp videos were played and analysed by the police scientific expert, Detective Police Constable, Alpha Sesay.

The first video he displayed had a goat dressed in green attire with inscription "the newly appointed state chief of protocol to President Bio" and then the second video had President Bio and it's inscription was "sport jacket and bedroom slippers, aaa President Bio u nor try,"

Additionally, another video depicts human right violation, whiles another telling President Bio to be accountable to the people and that no one is above the law.

Another video that was played had an inscription thus "the SLPP government constitutes to divide the nation. Le 141 billion unaccounted for by the Ministry of Finance" and another pointing at the Minister of Finance with inscription "listen to Mr ignorant" whiles another video of a woman lamenting. The video was titled "hunger took over Bo town," among others.

Detective Police Constable, Alpha Sesay attached to the Cyber Unit of the Criminal Investigations Department headquaters, disclosed that six of those videos were sent to various social media platforms, whiles 12 of them were stored in the aforementioned Lenovo computer.

He further testified that they discovered photos in the second accused's mobile phone which were displayed in court.

One of the photos was the second accused person himself posing in front of the door of Superintendent M.K. Alieu at the Criminal Investigations Department, while another contained photo of Dr. Blyden when she was being interviewed by Superintendent Alieu, thus noting that the said photos were posted in a group titled "free Dr. Blyden"

During cross-examination by DPC Sesay, defense counsel for the first accused, lawyer Charles Francis Margai disclosed that his client, Dr. Blyden was never present when her computers were being examined, adding that the Cyber Unit did not discuss with Dr. Blyden in respect of the videos.

He further established to the Court that every individual is entitled to his or her opinion, whether wrong or right as stated in the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone.

Defense counsel for the second accused (Hussein Mukson Sesay) lawyer Melron Nicole Wilson was not present; which made it impossible for the witness to be cross-examined.

Magistrate Hannah Bonnie adjourned the matter to 14th October 2020.

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