By Janet A Sesay
Detective Sergeant 13168 Ibrahim Kallie Sesay, attached to the Sexual Assault Syndicate at the Criminal Investigation Department, yesterday testified before Justice Taylor in the Sexual Offence Division at the High Court of Freetown against the leader of the Alliance Democratic Party (ADP), Mohammed Kamarainba Mansaray and Marion Around. Both were alleged to have conspired together to penetrate a child below 18 years.
Led in evidence by Umu Sumaray the witness said he knew the complainant, Fatu Banya, and the victim. The witness also recognized both accused in the dock and recalled 20th July 2020.
He said, on that day, he was on duty at the said office when a case and enquiry file was transferred from the Sexual Assault Syndicate Family Support Unit in the Tankoro Division Headquarters, Koidu district, for an alleged offence of sexual penetration of a child.
He said the alleged case and enquiry file was transferred to Detective Sergeant 9293 Hawanatu Dumbuya as lead investigator and he served as an associate in the investigation.
The witness furthered that, on the same day, the case and enquiry file were recorded in their crime record. The file contained two statements, which are statements of the complainant and the victim. The file also contained an endorsed medical report form of the victim, which has since been in the custody of the police. He said he would like to produce them before the court for identification.
The statement of the victim was produced in court for identification and was marked as Exhibit A1-A21. The witness furthered that the birth certificate of the victim was also in the file.
According to him, on that same day, a team of detectives, headed by Detective Superintendent of Police, Thomas Robin Mansaray, and himself boarded a vehicle with registration number AAT 913. They left the Station to arrest the first accused and to gain access to his premises.
He said they were at the Regional Headquarter, Freetown West Lumley, when Thomas Robin Mansaray informed the team that, upon information he received from the Head of Family Support Unit, Superintendent Fatmata Jebbeh Daboh Kamara, they should return to the Station, and that the first accused was with her at the office.
Detective Sergeant 13168 Ibrahim Kallie Sesay said, based on that information, they returned to the office and, upon their arrival, a contemporaneous interview was conducted with the accused in respect of an alleged case of sexual penetration of a child by observing the judges rule. The first accused was detained and the interview suspended.
Ibrahim Kallie Sesay furthered that, on 23rd July 2020, a team of detectives, headed by the head of the Family Support Unit, boarded a vehicle with registration number AAR 543 and himself, together with the victim, left the station for Kono District for clarification of some ambiguities.
He said, upon their arrival, and having informed the Local Unit Commander, Chief Superintendent of Police Sankoh, about the purpose of their visitation, went to the Diamond Lodge Hotel along the Kono highway.
The witness continued that, on their arrival and upon instructions from Thomas Robin Mansaray, the Manager of the hotel, Tamba Henry Fomba, was arrested and taken to the Tankoro Police Station for questioning. He however refused to make statement in respect of the allegations. He was later detained.
Ibrahim Kallie Sesay also stated that, on the 24th July 2020, statements were obtained from several witnesses; and, on the next day, a team of detectives, including himself, boarded a vehicle with registration number AAR 543, headed by Thomas Robin Mansaray, together with the victim, visited one of the crime scenes at John Kelly Street.
According to the witness, when they arrived, they could not gain access to the scene, which was an unfinished building in a fence compound. The house is alleged to be the house of the first accused.
Since they could not gain access into the said compound, the Scene of Crime Officer, Sergeant 11322 Conteh M.M., took some snapshots of the outside view of the crime scene. After that the team proceeded to the Diamond Lodge Hotel, another alleged crime scene. He said they were able to speak with the receptionist, Binta Kamara, nee Saw.
He said she was interrogated in respect of the management of the hotel, including about receiving guests into their hotel. Binta Kamara produced a blue book as the guest registration ledger, which was examined page by page.
He furthered that, on examination of the said book, he found out that there were torn pages from the said ledger, which was taken to the Police Station with the consent of the receptionist.
The witness said that, between the months of February and March, the manner of entering the information of guests into the guest registration was changed and, before February 14, the names of guests were registered in the book, including the name of the person, his or her nationality, room number, purpose of visits and occasions, arrival date, departure date, room rate, total amount and comment, it automatically changed.
On the 14th March 2020, the register book only had the name of the guest, with only the date, room number, rate, total and comments. And between 21st and 22nd February 2020, there was a torn page and, between 7th March and 10th March, there was another torn page. On the 22nd and 23rd March 2020, there was another torn page. On the 31st March 2020, they came back to the old system of indicating the guest’s name, room number and rate, total and comments. Regarding the discovery found in the book, the receptionist was arrested.
The victim identified two separate rooms, of which photographs were taken by the Scene of Crime Officer, Detective Sergeant 11322 Conteh M.M. The receptionist was taken to the Tankoro Police Station and was contemporaneously interviewed together with Detective Sergeant 9292 Hawanatu Dumbuya.
The receptionist was arrested for the alleged offenses of conspiracy to commit a felony, in respect of sexual penetration of a child and perverting the course of justice. The witness furthered that, Binta told the investigating team that she was not the receptionist but one Aminata Sellu, who was arrested on the same day and brought to the station where a statement was obtained from her and detained because of the inconsistency in the ledger book.
He said whiles in Kono, the head of FSU, DSP Fatmata Daboh, gave instructions to Inspector Lansana Tawarally to arrest the 2nd accused and her husband, which was done.
While in Kono, they also moved to the Koidu Government Hospital, together with the head of the FSU, to the Birth and Death Department to confirm the originality of the birth certificate produced to the investigating team. He said the team contacted the medical nurse, known as Messi, and showed her the document. Messi confirmed that the said birth certificate was issued by one nurse, whose name he could not recall.
The witness continued that the investigating team split into two, with one headed by the head of FSU together with D. Sergeant 8526 Kamara, the witness and DS 9293 Dumbuya Hawanatu. The other team was headed by ASP Thomas Robin Mansaray and himself. They headed to the said village to confirm the originality of the birth certificate.
He said, on arrival, they looked through the documents that were produced by the medical coordinator in the said village. The medical coordinator told them that the nurse, in question, had retired and that they didn’t find anything of police interest in respect of the birth certificate nor a certain serial number was not found in any of the documents produced.
The witness said they wrote a letter to the medical officer in charge at the births and deaths, to confirm the originality or authenticity of the birth certificate.
Continuing his testimony, the witness said, on 23 July 2020, the head of FSU wrote a letter to the head of Koidu Hospital requesting for the verification of birth certificate with serial number 030735. The purpose of requesting for verification of the birth certificate is because ‘the one given to us at the earlier part of investigation was a photocopy. And the letter of request was tendered in court to form part of the evidence.
The witness continue that, on arrival at the Koidu Government Hospital with the said letter, the medical nurse, on duty, Nurse Messi, checked their records and confirmed to them that the birth certificate number e/k0035 is in their records.
According to the witness, they returned to the station on the same day. They asked the biological mother if she had any other documents that can confirm the age of her daughter. The mother gave them the Under-five card of her daughter (victim) and after that they asked her for the original birth certificate, which is a photocopy.
“It has since been in our custody. If seen, I could identify it,” he told the court.
He said statements were obtained from her in respect of the said documents, which statements have also been in their custody.
He said, upon receiving the original birth certificate and statement, confirmed to them by the nurse at Koidu Hospital, they then moved to Bangadu village, where the nurse in charge told them that the birth certificate was at the health center of the said village.
He said, on 26th July 2020, a statement was obtained from the current Manager, Tamba, of the Diamond Hotel. At this juncture, state prosecutor sought for a date.
Lead defense counsel, Charles Francis Margai, said they are not adverse to that, but they are renewing their application for bail pursuant to section 79(2) of the Criminal Procedure Act No 32 of 1965.
He said no serious risk of escaping from justice would be entertained by his client. Mr. Charles Margai said the prosecution also has a duty, as officers of the court, and if they are opposed to an application for bail, it behooves the prosecution to show, from the proof of evidence or by affidavits, evidence fact which may show strong probability of the guilt of the accused, or that the accused may not be available to stand his trial or jump bail.
He said the factor he has alluded to is as a result of judicial precedents based on past experience in dealing with cases and those facts are not exhausting.
Charles Margai then congratulated the Judge for his elevation, and said he hopes he will make a difference in the justice system as the people of Sierra Leone were disappointed in the justice system.
He said the first accused is a leader of one of the political parties in the country. He added that the first accused went to the station on his own without being arrested.
“That shows that he is not a flight risk,” he stressed. He said the prosecution has the habit of objecting to bail without any grounds.
According to him, the case of the prosecution has collapsed, and if the accused are discharged there will be no compensation for them. He said he hopes the judge will make a difference from other judges in the judiciary.
He said the case is not a murder and it is a bailable offence. He submitted that, if he was the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, seven judges would have been charged to court. He said ‘this is a deserving case for the accused to be granted bail.’
In reply, Umu Sumaray, for the state, said her learned senior has given the court a lecture instead of bail application, as he indicts the judiciary. She said, on that note, she relied on her affidavit file before the court, sworn on 19th August 2020, in opposition to bail; and she vehemently opposed to the bail application made by the defense in its entirety because all the points he brought up, regarding his strength, are unfortunate, adding that he did not peruse the judge’s note to adduce the evidence unfolding in court.
“My lord, he only came in after six witnesses had been led,” she informed the court.
She said if he had gone through the evidence, he should have left the court, and, with this evidence alone, bail cannot be given.
The accused were refused bail and the matter comes up again on 18th September 2020.