By Mohamed Kai
Former Mayor of Freetown under the All people’s congress (APC) party reign, Herbert George Williams who was brought into court walking with crutches together with his co-accused, Abubakar Daramy have been admitted to self-bail with other specific conditions ordered by Hon. Justice Cosmotina Jarrett presiding over the High Court No.1 in Freetown.
Both accused persons are charged with the offences of Murder and Conspiracy to Commit Grievous Bodily Harm, contrary to law.
The Charge Sheet indicated that both accused persons, Abubakar Daramy and Herbert George Williams murdered journalist Ibrahim Samura on 31st March 2018 in the Western Area of Freetown, and that they also conspired together with other persons unknown to murder journalist Ibrahim Samura on the aforementioned date and jurisdiction.
Both accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them.
When the trial commenced, the State Prosecutor Umu Sumaray informed the court about the need for jurors to be empanelled and to enable her submit the mode of trial, but that only seven jurors were in attendance.
Furthermore, the state prosecutor’s affidavit in opposition to bail for the accused persons was not properly laid before the court, as required by Order (31) Rule (7) sub section (1) of the High Court Rules.
In light of the above, Counsel representing Abubakar Daramy who is the first accused person, Melron Nicol Wilson told the court that the court is the right forum for him to make a bail application on behalf of his client, being that his client had now been arraigned before a trial judge.
He said the accused person is a Sierra Leonean citizen in the Republic of Sierra Leone and has credible surety who is willing to comply with the bail requirement the court may impose on him.
Barrister Melron Nicol Wilson further canvassed the trial judge that he is reliably informed that his client would not in any way interfere with prosecution witness or witnesses.
He argued that the accused person has a strong community task in the Western Area and would not seek to infringe on the bail conditions, as such would put his family in a state of disrepute.
His client, he said, has been incarcerated for twelve months, and that admitting him to bail would strengthen his presumption of innocence and further ensure a speedy trial, coupled with unfettered access to legal practitioners and counsel representing him.
He concluded that his application for bail is pursuant to Section (79) sub Section (1) of the Criminal Procedure Act No.32 of 1965.
On his part, counsel for the second accused person Herbert George Williams adopted similar application earlier made by counsel for the first accused person, but added that the charges brought against his client are mere allegations, until proven by a competent court of law, and that his client cannot walk by himself and had been incarcerated for twelve months now.
At this stage of the proceeding, the State Prosecutor objected to bail, but equally so, counsel for the first accused person Melron Nicol Wilson renewed his application for bail on the grounds that the affidavit in opposition to bail is not before the court, because the State Counsel failed to comply with the bail regulations of 2018, relating to filing and services of an affidavit in opposition to bail.
He argued that assuming without considering, the affidavit in opposition to bail is before the court, the State Counsel failed to comply with Order (31) Rule (7) sub section (1) of the High Court Rules, which specifically deals with alteration on the face of an affidavit.
In such instance, he said the court should discountenance the affidavit in opposition presented by the State Counsel and admit his client to bail.
In her wisdom, Hon. Justice Cosmotina Jarrett stated that having heard the submissions of both the prosecution and the defense, she is admitting the accused persons to bail in their recognizance in the sum of five hundred million Leones each in like sum.
According to the bail condition, if both accused persons could not fulfill bail in their recognizance, they must produce two sureties.
The sureties must also surrender their conveyances registered with the Office of the Administrator and Registrar General and that the accused persons must surrender their travelling documents to the Master and Registrar.
The trial judge noted that the accused persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty and warned members of the public present at the hearing to refrain from posting public opinions and comments on the social media platform, relating to the matter under adjudication.
She also admonished the accused persons to behave themselves and not to engage in any act that may affect a smooth and speedy trial.
The matter comes up again on Wednesday 19th August 2020 for further hearing.