Magistrate Marke Ngegba, presiding Magistrate at the Pademba Road Court No.1 in Freetown had overruled the Defense Counsel, Joseph F Kamara’s objection over the tendering of a video which allegedly depicted Mayor Aki-Sawyerr’s alleged disorderly behavior. The said video was played in open court. Led in evidence by State Counsel, Yusuf Isaac Sesay, prosecution witness, Mohamed Jusu, attached to the Cyber Crime Unit, Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Headquarters at Pademba Road, Freetown.
Jusu disclosed that his rule at the unit is to analyze electronic evidence and reduce it to report. The witness recalled on the 8th October, 2022, when he was on duty at the Cyber Lab Office, when he received a correspondence and a flash drive from Detective Sergeant Kanu for analysis. Jusu explained that he inserted the drive into the Cyber lab Computer and discovered that it has a video playing time of 1min 25 seconds which contained the accused person (Aki-Sawyerr) and two others. Jusu furthered that he used a software called harsh-E to check for the authenticity of the said video.
“The software helped me to know that the said video was not tampered with” the witness revealed. Jusu mentioned that he also used a software called Voice Anslyzer which he said helped him to know that the voice was not tampered with.
Jusu continued that he played the said video severally to capture the words of the accused person to make his observation and conclusion unbiased.
Jusu disclosed that he reduced his observation and conclusion to a report which he signed on 11th October, 2022, adding that his colleague also signed the said report. The witness was shown the request from Sergeant Kanu and it was produced for identification. The findings and observations which he reduced into writings were also identified but Defense Counsel, Lawyer J.F Kamara, objected to the tendering of the said report. According to Lawyer Kamara, certain paragraph is highly prejudicial, adding that it does not assist the court evidencially to ascertain whether the accused is guilty or not.
He further stated that paragraph 3 in the report merely conjectures. “It should not be admissible but if it is admissible certain paragraph must be expunged.” He concluded.
State Counsel, Yusuf Isaac Sesay said what Lawyer Kamara said is not in line with the rules that prohibit the admissibility of tendering a document. He added that the witness is capable of tendering the said document because he is the author. ” when we speak here we rely on procedure and law.
Magistrate Marke Ngegba overruled Defense Counsel.
The witness continued that the report he tendered contained transcript of the video. He also mentioned that the video contained analysis by way of conclusion. The prosecution was about to tender the video when Defense Counsel objected on the grounds that they don’t know what is contained in the drive, adding that it is the duty of the prosecution to serve the Defense Counsel the document.
However magistrate Marke Ngegba ruled that the video be tendered. The said video was played in open court, after it was been played, the accused was seen and heard and other people had the opportunity to comment. He added that the video captured three people such as the accused, Councilor Turay and Caulker. The witness revealed that the video was made inside the charge office which is close to the Investigation room. The witness explained that Caulker crossed his hands to prevent the Mayor from entering. He alleged that the accused was in an angry mood. Lawyer Kamara objected that the witness cannot tell the state of mind of the accused but magistrate Marke Ngegba overruled him.
Defense Counsel, Lawyer Joseph F Kamara, requested for an adjournment to enable him study the video and confers with his client. Magistrate Marke Ngegba adjourned the matter to Friday 4th November, 2022.