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Sunday, July 5, 2020

Treason Trial: Defense Urges Palo’s Release

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The Lead Defense Lawyer in the ongoing Treason Trial of Rtd Major Alfred Palo Conteh and two others, Dr. Abdulai Conteh has urged the Jury to discountenance all the indictments brought against his client for lack of credible evidence.

He told the Jury that their key role in the ongoing trial is to strive between the truth and falsehood.

According to Dr. Conteh, Alfred Palo Conteh stands charged on three counts of Treason, seven counts of Unlawful Possession of Small Arms without Valid License and three counts of Perjury, contrary to law.

He made these submissions while addressing the Jury on behalf on his client, before Hon. Justice Alhaji Momoh Jah Stevens presiding over the High Court No.1 on Siaka Stevens Street in Freetown.

Dr. Abdulai Conteh further addressed the Jury that the particulars of offences stated in the indictments relating to Treason against his client; to Assassinate President Julius Maada Bio; is in quotation mark, and that it is not the words of the prosecution, but from somebody else.

He intimated that the lower court that conducted preliminary investigations into the alleged Treason matter should not have entertained Alfred Palo Conteh on three counts of Treason, because according to him the said indictments were never committed to the High Court to enable the Jury to sit on the matter.

Dr. Conteh added that in a criminal trail the burden lies on the prosecution to prove its case beyond all reasonable doubt, but that in this case the prosecution has failed to adduce credible evidence to hold Alfred Palo Conteh culpable for the charges preferred against him.

The evidence adduce by the persecution against his client, he said is incomplete and the accused person bears no burden, adding that possessing a weapon at State House is not a treasonable offence, and that State House is not a public place, but a restricted area or fortress.

He further told the Jury that Alfred Palo Conteh had no intention to Assassinate President Julius Maada Bio at State House on Thursday 19th March this year, when he was invite to take part in a coordinated national programme aimed at curtailing the spread of the deadly Covid-19 in Sierra Leone.

Dr. Abdulai Conteh also intimated the Jury that when Alfred Palo Conteh arrived at State House to meet with President Bio and other personalities ahead of a meeting, he declared and voluntary handed over his Block 17 Pistol to the security personnel in the State House reception area.

“Alfred Palo Conteh had no plan to Assassinate President Maada Bio and subsequently take over his government, because Palo was supposed to meet with President Bio and other top government officials, and that is the reason he voluntarily handed over his weapon to the security personnel.”  Dr. Conteh stated. Adding: “My Client is not like one of the world’s most popular film actors, James Bond or 007 who is licensed to kill. Only a lunatic or demented fool alone can go to State House to assassinate a sitting president and subsequently overthrow his government.

The veteran legal luminary informed the Jury that the prosecution wants them the Jurors to believe that Alfred Palo Conteh took a weapon to State House to assassinate President Maada Bio, because President Bio was part of the 1992 military coup that forcefully grabbed political power from his Uncle, Late. President Joseph Saidu Momoh.

On Count Nine, which relates to the Importation of Small Arms without Valid License, Dr. Conteh disclosed that Alfred Palo Conteh never imported the said Block 17 Pistol in Sierra Leone, but that it was offered to him by his friend Mamoud Koroma who is a serving member of the United States Army.

According to him, his client went to the National Commission on Small Arms to renew and register his Block 17 pistol in question for his personal safety, stating that the prosecution wants them the Jurors to believe that Alfred Palo Conteh is a reckless citizen.

No credible evidence, he said was led by the prosecution to prove their case against his client and urged the Jury to discountenance the indictments preferred against him.

Dr. Abdulai Conteh informed the Jury that Alfred Palo Conteh never Sworn on Oath at the National Commission on Small Arms, when he went to renew and register his weapon and that the prosecution failed to lead evidence indicating that his client Sworn on Oath at the Commission.

He concluded that the offence of Perjury requires two or more people and called on the Jury to discountenance the sixteen count charges pressed against Rtd Major Alfred Palo Conteh and not to deliver any verdict of guilty on him. Hearing continues.

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