By Mohamed Kai
The twelve man jury empanelled by the High Court of Sierra Leone, on Wednesday 1st July 2020 returned a verdict of not guilty for Rtd Major Alfred Palo Conteh who was facing Treason and other felonious offences, contrary to law.
He was found guilty on two counts of possessing a Loaded Weapon in a Public Place and Keeping a Greater number of Small arms, out of the sixteen count indictments preferred against him and his then co- accused persons in the persons of Rtd Col. Saa Anthony Sinnah and Prince George Hughes by the State.
The adjudicating Judge, Hon. Justice Alhaji Momoh Jah Stevens convicted and sentenced Alfred Palo Conteh to twelve months imprisonment only on counts ten and eleven and should serve his jail term concurrently.
But Rtd Alfred Palo Conteh then co-accused persons, Rtd Col. Saa Anthony Sinnah and Prince George Hughes were acquitted and discharged on all the sixteen count indictments which the State had preferred against them.
When the Treason matter was charged to court, the prosecution called thirteen witnesses who testified at the hearing, and that Alfred Palo Conteh, Rtd Col. Saa Anthony Sinnah and Prince George Hughes were equally represented by senior and seasoned legal luminaries who were in full attendance throughout the Treason trial.
The State had charged three of them with Offences like Treason, Adding and Abetting, Possessing a fire Arms without Valid License, Carrying a Loaded Weapon in a Public Place to Keeping a Greater number of Fire Arms, contrary to law.
The prosecution had argued that Alfred Palo Conteh, Saa Anthony Sinnah and Prince George Hughes were involved in treasonable and other felonious offences, and that the court should find them culpable of all the sixteen count charges pressed against them.
Whiles their defense team argued on the contrary.
Before the jury returned with their verdict, the adjudicating Judge did his summing up by explaining to the jury on the law and facts relating to the matter, the need for the prosecution to prove its case beyond all reasonable doubt, and for the jury to return a truthful verdict.
After Hon. Justice Alhaji Momoh Jah Stevens concluded his address, the jury then retired to their secluded rendezvous for almost two hours, after which they returned a verdict on the matter.
At the end of the Treason trial, the adjudicating, Judge Hon. Justice Alhaji Momoh Jah Stevens thanked the jury, the prosecution, defense team, the media and judicial staff for their patience and cooperation throughout the trial.
He maintained that this is one of the fastest Treason cases, the High Court of Sierra Leone has ever adjudicated, and that justice has been done to whom it’s due.
Rtd Major Alfred Palo Conteh was represented by lawyer Abdulai O. Conteh, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, Ade Maculey and Wara Serry Kamal.
Rtd Col Saa Anthony Sinnah who was the second accused person was represented by barrister Roland Wright and Arste Thompson, while Prince George Hughes who was the third accused person was defended by Amadu Koroma and S. Nicol ESQ.