Sierra Leone Police Arrests, Arraigns 16 Armed Robbers in Freetown
Sixteen accused persons are currently standing trial before Appeals Court Judge, Justice Monfred Momoh Sesay on allegations of sexual penetration and robbery with aggravation.
Amadu Turay, Abdul Gibao and 14 others were arraigned in court on 14 count charges which included robbery, conspiracy, rape and sexual violence, all contrary to laws in Sierra Leone.
Prosecution witness Martha Lahai who is one of the victims of the alleged crimes, told the court that she was at home at 8 Bo Road, Salina in Moyamba with her mother one Reverend Jane Lahai on the 19th May 2019 at around midnight when they heard wailing outside the compound. She said when she went out of her room to ascertain where the noise was coming from, she met her mother already at the corridor.
Lahai said later that the alleged robbers broke into their home and assaulted her mother mercilessly. She said that the men with ‘long cutlasses’ forcefully drew her outside. She added that the men had masks and that she could not see their faces at the time. She stated that she ran to make some calls to the police because the men continued to beat her mother. She said that she was in her room to make some calls when the 7th accused one Thomas Willoughby broke in and started assaulting her.
Lahai said that Willoughby was later joined by his colleagues after she removed his mask. She said she was later dragged to the guestroom where she was beaten with cutlasses on her back and that some of the men penetrated her with their fingers. She also added that one of alleged robbers threatened to rape her.
The first prosecution witness also told the court that the men took some of her personal belongings which included a BLU mobile phone valued at Le 1,500,000 (one million five hundred thousand Leones), a wrist watch costing Le 100,000, a perfume and the sum of Le 1,900,000 (one million nine hundred thousand Leones). The alleged robbers also stole a motor-cycle after the 13th accused one Vandy Kamara alias Nelly took the keys.
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She said that they were later rescued by the District Council Chairman, Joseph Mogba and some other men who arrived in a vehicle. She said the men fled upon hearing the revving of the said vehicle except for the 1st accused who was caught by one Amadu Jalloh who was also a tenant and an alleged victim in the said matter.
She said she was later transferred to Urban Centre Hospital, Kissy in Freetown on the request of the late Bishop Yambasu. She said the police later requested that she do an identification parade at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Headquarters. She said that she was able to identify 9 of the accused persons at the said parade.
During cross-examination by counsel for the accused, Komba Kanu, Lahai told the court that she spent three days at the Moyamba Government Hospital where she made a statement of the incident to the Police. She denied allegations by the defence that she had not been truthful to the court.
The State called Angela Sesay to testify. Sesay, a resident of the alleged crime scene, told the court that she saw some of the men the same night the first witness had told the court that the said incident took place. She said that the men also assaulted her and one Victoria. She said they were both also stripped naked. She added that the said robbers also took her Samsung Edge 6 mobile phone.
Kanu, counsel for all accused applied for bail on behalf of all accused persons. In his affidavit in reply, he told the court that some of the men are bread winners and that two are pupils. He responded to the prosecution’s affidavit in opposition that all accused are residents of Sierra Leone and that they are not at flight risk.
The State also argued for the refusal of bail in their affidavit in answer. Joseph A.K. Sesay, representing the State, said that the evidence adduced by the two factual witnesses had indicated the seriousness of the crime. He added that the said evidence particularly incriminated the 1st, 4th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 11th, 12th and 14th accused persons. He added that PW1 had said that she used to live in Moyamba with the 13th accused.
The judge refused bail and ordered for all accused to be remanded at the Pademba Road Correctional Centre. The matter was adjourned to the 24th August 2021.