5 men, Moses Santigie Kargbo, Chernor Sesay, alias Tecno, Ishmael Sankoh, Michael, Kinny Ndanema, (alias Kempers), and Abdulai Bombolie Kanu, (alias Ordullay) were sentenced to eighty years (80) imprisonment each by Justice Ivan Sesay for the offense of robbery with aggravation and murder.
The judge enunciated the sentencing after the 11-member-jury unanimously returned a guilty verdict in respect of all three counts of conspiracy to robbery, robbery with aggravation, and murder of one Mohamed Kamara.
Reports showed that the accused persons on diverse dates between the 10th January 2021 and the 13th January 2021, at Rogbere Junction, Port Loko District in the North-West Region of Sierra Leone, conspired together with other persons unknown to commit robbery and murder. Upon their arraignment, the accused persons rejected the entire allegations.
In order to make its case, the prosecution led in evidence a number of witnesses in support of their case including the Government Pathologist, Dr. Semeon Owizz Koroma, a police investigator and other witnesses.
In his summing-up address to the jurors, Justice Ivan Sesay stressed on the weight and seriousness of the case and urged them not to attach emotions in their considerations, but to deliver justice to both the victim and the accused persons as the facts in the case revealed.
He said the burden and standard of proof in all criminal trials of that nature is that, the prosecution must prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt by meeting all the elements of the offence charged.
Justice Sesay said the jury must know that they are the judges of fact, and the facts in the case were well within their knowledge.
He said they are charged with the responsibility to evaluate those facts in line with the law.
He said there were several elements the prosecution must establish in that case.
He further admonished the jury that the other element that the prosecution must prove is malice aforethought which must be addressed.
He said malice aforethought refers to the mental state of the accused at the time the offence was committed.
“I urge you to approach your deliberations with an open mind and consider all the evidences, arguments, and relevant instructions provided to you by the court. Only by thoroughly examining the elements of murder and weighing the evidence presented, can we arrive at a just and fair verdict,” he said
He continued that the prosecution had presented its case, striving to prove the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. They have presented evidence, such as the murder weapon, ballistic analysis, eyewitness testimonies, and other forensic evidence.
“As jury, it’s your duty to assess the inconsistencies in a fair and impartial manner, consider whether these inconsistencies substantially undermine the credibility and reliability of the evidences presented against the accused. Inconsistencies create reasonable doubt, and it is your responsibility to carefully weigh the impact of these doubts as you deliberate,” he admonished.
He concluded that the jury must consider whether the threshold had been met, and that they must remember it was better to err on the side of caution and acquit an innocent person than to wrongly convict an individual based on shaky or inconsistent evidence.
“At this Juncture, I now pause and excuse you to retire to the jury room and return your verdict, which must be unanimous.”
The 11-man jury returned with a guilty verdict for all three counts charge against the five accused persons.