By Janet A Sesay
Detective Police Constable Joseph Jay Collins attached Major Incident Unit at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), has testified at a Freetown High Court presided over by Justice Augustine Musa.
The witness’s testimony was centered on the alleged involvement of Abu Bakarr Daramy and Herbert George Williams in the death of Ibrahim Samura, publisher of New Age Newspaper.
The two accused persons were former Public Relations Officer for the main Opposition, All People’s Congress (APC), Western Area Branch and Mayor of Freetown municipality respectively.
The police witness recognised the accused persons and recalled sometime in October 2019 when a case and enquiry file in respect of the alleged murder was transferred to his unit with the accused persons for further investigation.
Witness told the court that he and Detective Inspector John G.K. Williams were assigned to the case and enquiry file.
He said the case file contained certain documents namely: medical certificate of cause of death, endorsed police medical report, letter of apology from the main opposition, APC and some other documents relevant to the case.
The witness said in the statement column of the file was the statements of the deceased, Ibrahim Samura and witnesses as well as voluntary caution statements of the accused persons.
DPC Collins further testified that, on 22 October 2019, he charged both accused persons separately with the offences of conspiracy and murder.
He said the first accused, Herbert George Williams refused to append his signature on the grounds that his lawyer was not present.
Because of Williams’s failure to sign, the police witness said, he prepared a certificate in respect of his refusal signed by himself and DPC 9007 Kanu A.B.
The aforementioned documents in the case file were identified in court and tendered in evidence to form part of the Prosecution’s case.
A cross-examination was conducted by Counsel Melron Nicol Wilson for the first accused, Abu Bakarr Daramy. The police witness answered in the negative when asked whether the letter of apology was written and signed by first accused.
When the witness was further cross-examined, he replied that he charged the first accused person in respect of an alleged incident that took place on 31st March 2018 although the name of the first accused was not mentioned on the medical certificate.
The witness also confirmed, during cross examination, that Thomas Dixon and Mamoud Tim Kargbo were eye witnesses.
The police witness was also cross-examined by lawyer Lansana Dumbuya, defence counsel for the second accused, Herbert George Williams who said he took the charge statement of the second accused.
He also agreed that before he charged the matter, the second accused was already in detention.
Prior to the testimony after the 12 jurors were empanelled, state prosecutor, Umu Sumaray told the court that they were in court to prove the guilt of the accused persons beyond reasonable doubt.
Counsel Sumaray submitted that for a case of murder to hold, the offence must be committed in Sierra Leone, and that the victim after the alleged incident must have died within a year.
While giving a summary of what happened, she informed the court that on 31st March 2018, the deceased, with two of his colleagues were accredited by the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists to observe the 2018 general elections.
While they were at Lumley, she said, the deceased saw the first and second accused persons beating up a man and that while he was taking photos of the scene, he was also attacked by the accused persons and others.
The evidence, state counsel went on, showed that the deceased was beaten with a dog chain by the two accused persons and former Minister of Trade, Ibrahim Washinga Mansaray, Sanusi Bruski and Dankay Koroma, daughter of former president Ernest Bai Koroma.
Later, the deceased reported the matter to the Lumley Police Station where he was issued with a police medical form for examination and treatment.
Counsel Sumaray also informed the court that the deceased passed away on 6th June 2018.
Having listened to counsel’s address, Justice Musa said the case would be treated like any murder matter prosecuted in this country.
He said it will not be associated to the police noting that the judiciary had to uphold their integrity.
In this circumstance, the judge urged the Prosecution to bring their witnesses on every adjourned date to ensure speedy trial.
He also admonished defence counsels to be very cooperative.
However the accused persons Abu Bakarr Daramy and Herbert George Williams are standing trial before Justice Augustine Musa on two counts of Conspiracy and murder.
The indictment alleges that the accused persons, on 31st March 2018, in Freetown, conspired with other persons unknown to murder Ibrahim Samura.
The matter was adjourned to 1st September.