By Janet A Sesay
The defence team representing Alfred Paolo Conteh has raised another big doubt on the treason trial following the prosecution’s failure to produce the CCTV footage in court.
The legal wrangling on the CCTV footage surfaced in yesterday’s proceedings when one of the counsels, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara raised the controversial issue.
Counsel Kamara strongly argued that the offence of treason would not stand in the absence of the video footage.
“If Prosecution does not produce the CCTV footage in court, there is no treason,” Counsel Kamara submitted.
Dr. Abdulai O. also submitted that the court is a court of justice and that the accused persons the accused are standing in the dock for a very serious offence noting that the CCTV footage is an item that should be brought to the court.
State prosecutor, Adrian Fisher objected that the issue raised by defence counsel attracts national security and that of the president which, he said, should not be should not be discussed in public.
In his ruling, Justice Stevens said the prosecution represents the President and if they did not wish to produce the CCTV footage it is their case.
The defence counsel made the submission yesterday when cross-examining Lieutenant Colonel Moriba Mohammed Kposowa, Head of Presidential Guard Force at State House who said State House had a CCTV facility.
The production of the video footage was raised almost a month ago by the defence team as they believed that it would help the court to know exactly what transpired between the accused, Paolo Conteh and the presidential guards at State House.
In his testimony, Lt Colonel Kposowa recognised the three accused persons and recalled 19th March, this year.
On that date, he said, he was at his office when he got a phone call from Captain Angel who informed him about the alleged possession of a pistol by the first accused, Paolo Conteh.
Kposowa testified that upon such information he went down stairs at the reception to know what happened.
“Having got the details as to what transpired between the first accused and the guards at State House I came to know that it was a security concern,” Kposowa said.
He also told the court that he called police officers at the Criminal Investigation Department to the scene.
While waiting for their arrival, Kposowa continued, he went outside the gate to enquire about the first accused’s vehicle which he went with to State House.
Not too long, he went on, the CID Officer arrived at state House and he explained to them the incident and that Staff Sergeant Dauda Yemi handed over to him a brown bag containing a pistol.
Later, he said, the CID Officers accompanied him to the second floor of the Chief Protocols office where the first accused was sitting together with other visitors
Kposowa told the court that he showed the bag to the first accused and asked if he was the owner.
He told the court that the first accused answered in the affirmative and asked him if he was the owner of the pistol.
Kposowa further testified that he admitted ownership of the pistol and showed a licence to confirm the ownership.
Witness also told the court that he handed over the pistol to Superintendent Sylvester who uploaded the pistol and realized that it had 10 rounds.
“The Pistol was handed over to the CID Officers and they took the first accused away for questioning in a private room and later made statements to the police,” Witness rounded up his testimony.
Two witnesses including Detective Sergeant Brima Gaima also made similar testimonies in court on that day.
By Janet A Sesay