87-year-old Emmanuel Sao Sawyer recently faced court over allegations of trespassing and illicit land conversion.

According to Awoko, police reports indicate that between 2006 and 2020, Sawyer allegedly entered Fanta Daramy’s land at Circular Road, Sussex village, located on the Freetown Peninsula, without permission.

During the trial, Abdul Rahman Bah, a Sussex village resident, provided testimony under lawyer Alfred Fullah’s counsel. Bah explained that he got to know Sawyer through his elder brother, who had tasked him with clearing some underbrush near Sawyer’s property. Bah added that he’d been working on that land ever since his brother introduced him to Sawyer.

Importantly, Bah highlighted that it was not Fanta Daramy who had given Sawyer the green light to use the land and noted that Sawyer had been on the property for over ten years.

In a questioning session led by Sergeant Momoh Lahai, the prosecutor, Bah was queried about whether he had cleared the exact piece of land under contention in Sussex. While Bah mentioned that he hadn’t cleared that specific piece, he did note that he had seen land-related documents with Sawyer.

Upon further probing about land ownership, Bah vouched for Sawyer as the legitimate landowner, not just someone overseeing it. He reiterated that he’d been maintaining the land on Sawyer’s behalf since 2010.

Bah, however, took a neutral stance when discussing the land’s ownership, stating that he couldn’t ascertain if it belonged to Mammy Haja, the one who lodged the complaint. Nonetheless, he was certain about Sawyer’s ownership of the land.

The case was postponed by Magistrate Mark Ngegba and is set to resume on October 5, 2023.