Sierra Leone: 3 Acquitted,Discharged of Murder

Justice Don Bosco Allieu (JA) has acquitted and discharged 52-year-old petty trader-Demoh Bangura, 65-year-old Public Relations Officer-Sholay Val Renner and 63-year-old civil servant, David Sesay of the offense of murder brought up against them by the state.

It comes after a 12-member jury unanimously returned a not guilty verdict in respect of a two-count indictment of conspiracy to commit murder and murder contrary to law.

The State had alleged that the accused persons on diverse dates unknown between the 10th day of April 2016 and the 12th day of April 2016 at Freetown, in the Western Area of the Country, conspired together and with other persons unknown to murder and did murder Patrick Bangura Alias Junior.

In his summing up address to the jurors, Hon. Justice Allieu stated that it is the standard in all criminal trials for the prosecutor to prove the guilt of the caused persons.

He told the jurors that if according to the totality of the evidence before the court, they were satisfied that the prosecution had proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt, they should return the appropriate verdict accordingly and vice versa.

Justice Allieu said added that to prove the guilt of the accused,the prosecution must also prove all the elements of the offenses charged including proving that the accused persons conspired to kill and had actual communication with the person solicited and that the accused persons are of sound memory among others.

He warned them not to concern themselves with any social media commentary or rumours about the matter outside the court but to strictly consider the evidence adduced before the court.

He reminded them that it was a highly talked-about incident in 2016 when a person was allegedly assaulted and killed at 17K Upper Tengbeh Town in Freetown and his body was dumped in a latrine which tends to sway them from the actual evidence in court.

The Prosecutor, Madam Joan Bull, led in evidence a total of 10 witnesses during the trial including the brother and wife of the deceased and pathologist, Dr. Simon Owizz Koroma.

In his certified medical cause of death, Dr. Owizz Koroma noted that according to the autopsy, there were no disease processes/ conditions to cause him to collapse suddenly or to cause or accelerate his death in the early hours of the 27th March 2016. He noted that he had sustained fractures of both shoulder joints, horns/wings of the hyoid bone thyroid cartilages, and cervical vertebrae at levels C3-C5 with spinal cord injury."

He added, "in my professional and expert opinion, the cause of death was unnatural, the manner homicidal."

At the close of the prosecution's case, the accused persons opted to rely on their statements to the police and didn't call any witnesses or testify in the matter.

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