State House to Host Palo’s Treason Trial

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By Mohamed Kai

High Court Judge, presiding over the Treason Trial of Rtd Major Alfred Palo Conteh and two others, Hon. Justice Alhaji Momoh Jah Stevens has said the Court will visit State House anytime soon to continue investigations on the ongoing Trial.

He said the Court will conduct a locus visit at State House Reception area, where the first accused person was said to have bypassed a Scanner and metal detector.

Hon. Justice Alhaji Momoh Jah Stevens, made the pronouncement after Counsel representing Rtd Major Alfred Palo Conteh, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara made an application to the court for a locus visit at State House.

Lawyer Joseph Kamara had applied that in the interest of justice and fair play, it would be prudent and helpful for the court to conduct a locus visit at the State House reception area for the defense team and the jurors to have a clear picture and understanding about the position of the scanner and metal detector.

Responding, the State Prosecutor Adrian Fisher did not object to the application made by lawyer Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, but however stated that State House is not an ordinary building, as the proper arrangement has to be made for such a visit, and that it is also premature at this stage of the proceedings.

Lawyer Joseph Kamara’s application was made in response to the testimony of the second Prosecution Witness, Police Constable Kemoh Vackie, who had testified that the first accused person, Rtd Major Alfred Palo Conteh bypassed the scanner and metal detector at the State House reception area, ahead of a meeting with President Julius Maada Bio and other officials, on Thursday 19th March 2020.

In his wisdom, Hon. Justice Alhaji Momoh Jah Stevens assured the audience that the court would conduct a locus visit at State House, before the end of the trial at a particular date convenient to the Bench and the court.

After the court had granted the application, the third Prosecution Witness, Detective Inspector Nathaniel Desmond Williams testified that he is attached to the Crime Writers’ Officer/ Exhibit Store as Exhibit Clerk.

He further testified that he is charged with the responsibility of receiving and keeping of all exhibits relating to cases reported and investigated by the Criminal Investigations Department Headquarter in Freetown.

Detective Inspector Nathaniel Desmond Williams further narrated that he recalled the incident of 24th March 2020, and that on the day in question he was on duty at the Crime Writers’ Office at the Criminal Investigation Department Headquarter, when Detective Police Constable 15105 Sesay A. handed over to him the following exhibits.

According to the witness he received from the Investigating Officer, Sesay A. one Block 17 pistol with serial number: BFEF-240, one magazine containing ten live rounds ammunition, one brown leather bag, one Block 21 pistol with serial number: LUX-841 Austral + and two empty magazines placed in a black couch.

He intimated the court that he also received from Sesay A. one red damaged lock, a fire arm license bearing the name and photograph of Rtd Major Alfred Palo Conteh, and later took possession of the said exhibits which he registered in the Court Registry Book, and that the said exhibits had since been in the custody of the police.

The said exhibits were later produced and tendered in evidence.

At the end of the court proceedings, the three accused persons, Rtd Major Alfred Palo Conteh, Saa Anthony Sinnah and Prince George Hughes were sent back to the Male Correctional Centre on Pademba Road on the orders of Hon. Justice Alhaji Momoh Jah Stevens.

The matter was adjourned today Monday 1st June for further hearing.