Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, lawyer representing ex-President Ernest Bai Koroma has raised concern in court highlighting the absence of witness statements crucial for the defense’s preparation.
The former President was arraigned on Wednesday on a-four-count indictment including treason and two counts of harbouring fugitives. The charges stem from alleged involvement in an attempt to overthrow Sierra Leone’s government on November 26, 2023.
The first count was for Treason for preparing to overthrow the government of Sierra Leone by unlawful means.
The second count is for Misprison of Treason and the particulars were that he unlawfully concealed the commission of the offence knowing that Sorieba Mansaray, Ibrahim Thorlu Bangura alias Tiger and Yapo Sesay had prepared to overthrow the government of Sierra Leone.
The third count was for harbouring Ibrahim Bangura in his residence knowing that he had committed treason.
The fourth count was also harbouring of Yapo Sesay, knowing that he had committed treason.
Koroma had been under house arrest since December after being questioned over the coup.
After the hearing resumed, the prosecution lawyers led by the Attorney General and the defence lawyers led by Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara objected that the prosecution has not served them any documentation about their witnesses or the evidence they have against the former president, emphasising that treason was a very serious allegation.
Kamara then tendered a High Court ruling to the court which had granted bail to former president Koroma.
The absence of witness statements, as revealed by Kamara, raises questions about the fairness and thoroughness of the legal proceedings against the former President. The defense’s call for access to these statements underscores the pivotal role they play in ensuring a robust defense strategy.