by Aruna Turay
Delivering a ruling on a No Case submission by the Counsels representing Rtd Major Alfred Palo Conteh and Rtd Col. Saa Anthony Sinnah, Hon. Justice Momoh Jah Stevens told the court that the Attorney General’s Office is consented to prepare a Fiat for the commencement of a treason trial.
The Hon. Judge informed the court that the contents of the said Fiat is consistent with the State Offences Act regarding the offence of treason and that its content is a condition precedent, and was enshrined in the national constitution two years after Sierra Leone gained independence from Great Britain.
He further ruled that the charges pressed against Alfred Palo Conteh and Saa Anthony Sinnah are separate in nature and therefore, they must be upheld.
Hon. Justice Alhaji Momoh Jah Stevens noted that in some cases investigation by the police go side by side with the prosecution.
He made it crystal that the charges preferred against the two accused persons are well in place and the treason trial must continue to it conclusion.
According the Trial Judge, Rtd Major Alfred Palo Conteh and Rtd Col. Saa Anthony Sinnah should now open their defense and allow the jury to hear, listen and understand the evidence led.
He further noted that the jurors are very important to the trial and they are regarded as ‘Judges of Facts’ and they will be handing down a verdict of guilty or not guilty at the end of the trail, after which he invited the jury to return to their seats and resume duty.
He assured the defense and the prosecution in his ruling that that he strongly believes in the judicial independence of the court, impartiality and is always prepares to uphold justice and fair play in any treason trail within the jurisdiction of Sierra Leone.
At this stage of the proceedings Dr. Abdulai Conteh who is representing the first accused person, Alfred Palo Conteh disclosed that they have been encountering problems with the officers at the correctional service to have adequate time to conference with their client and to further discuss and review the ruling delivered by the court.
He said that the defense is adequately prepared to open their case against Alfred Palo Conteh, and that Palo Conteh will start his defense on Friday 19th June 2020, where he is expected to testify and call additional witnesses.
Dr. Conteh added that the defense would be grateful, if the court could accord them the opportunity to review the six page ruling delivered by the trial judge with his client, as the defense is desirous to lead evidence.
Concluding, Hon. Justice Alhaji Momoh Jah Stevens said that the no case submission application made by Counsels for Alfred Palo Conteh and Saa Anthony Sinnah are now part of the court record in respect of the treason trial under adjudication.
In the case of the third accused person, Prince George Hughes, his lawyer Amadu Koroma clearly stated that his client will testify on the witness stand on the same Friday 19th June 2020 and later cross-examined.
On his part, Lawyer Roland Wright who is representing the second accused person Rtd Col. Saa Anthony Sinnah, stated that he would not border to make a no case submission application on behalf of his client, and that his client relied on the entirety of his statement to the police and the wisdom of the jury.
Later, the prosecution and the defense unanimously consented on a date for the defense to open their case on behalf of the three accused persons, charged with treason and other felonious offences, contrary to the laws of Sierra Leone. The matter comes up again on Friday 19th June this year.