In Mayor’s Matter: Magistrate Overrules Defense Counsel’s Submission
The matter involving Yvonne Aki Swayer, the Mayor of Freetown City Council has been transferred to the magistrate court No. 1 presided over by magistrate Marke Ngagba for trial.
The accused is before the court for obstruction of police and disorderly behaviour contrary to section 12(b) of the public order Act of 1965 as repealed and replaced by the public order Act amendment No.2 Act No.15 of 1973.
It was alleged on count one that on Saturday 17th September 2022 at the Airport police division, Lungi Kaffu Bulom Chiefdom, in the PortLoko Judicial District, North Western provinces, in the Republic of Sierra Leone the accused being the mayor of Freetown city council obstructed sergeant 7966 Richard junior Caulker and Corporal 12225 Fanta Fofanah whiles executing their lawful duties.
On count two, the accused was alleged to have behaved in a disorderly manner.
The Investigator on the ongoing criminal trial between the state and the Mayor of Freetown City’s third prosecution witness detective sergeant Osman Kanu attached to the operations unit at the Criminal Investigation Department Pademba Road recognized the accused person in the dock and also know first and second witnesses thahaveas testified on the matter.
He said on the 20th of September 2022, he was on duty when a case of obstruction of police duties and disorderly behaviour was reported against the accused.
He said he obtained statements from witnesses and was able to get videos on social media.
The witness said on the 29th of September they extend a police invitation to the accused. He said on the 3rd of October with deputy superintendent of police Harold Gbonda they obtained cautioned and questioned the accused and recorded her statement in English.
The witness said during the cause of the interview they showed her a video originating from the crime scene and she responded accordingly.
Explaining further the witness said at the end of the interview he read and explained it to her which he admitted to be true and correct and signed in her handwriting.
The witness produced and tendered the original statement obtained from the accused dated the 3rd of September 2022 to form part of the prosecution’s case.
In continuation of his examination in chief, the witness said on the 8th of October he downloaded the video on a memory stick and send it to the cyber unit for analysis.
Lead defence counsel Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara objected to the pen drive that was about to be tender because they do not know what it contains and that it is incompetent evidence brought before them.
Responding to the defence, state counsel YI Sesay said the defence want to rush him because he doesn’t know what the drive contains.
Proceeding further the witness said he went to the cyber lab to present the analysis request which he also produced and tendered as evidence as exhibit C.
He said on the 11th of October 2022 he received the report from the cyber unit together with the pen
The witness produced the document and pen drive for identification.
The witness said on the 13th of October 2022 based on evidence adduced, in the company of detective Inspector Mohamed Kargbo finally interviewed and charged the accused with the offences of obstructing police duties and disorderly behaviour by observing the Judge’s rule.
He produced and tendered the charged statement as exhibit B one to three.
Testing the evidence in cross-examination by lead defence counsel Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, the witness said he has been working as a police officer for twenty years.
He said during the cause of investigation he went to the Airport police post to clarify.
He also confirmed obtaining statements from the accused in the presence of her lawyers including the lead defence counsel.
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He said his engagement with first witness Fanta Fafanah and second witness Richard Junior Caulker was not reduced in writing but according to him, they made a statement
Confronted further the witness confirmed that the Mayor was aware that the councillor was arrested.
Confronting the witness about his discussion with Sergeant Fanta Fofanah the first witness, he said she told him that she was in the investigation pool when she heard the accused shouting.
The witness in further cross-examination said commissioner Lahai came in briefly to the station when the Mayor was making a statement.
He said he was present when the sergeant’s first and second witnesses came to the Criminal Investigation Department but did not have any knowledge as to whether commissioner Lahai briefed them about the offence of disorderly behaviour.
He admitted speaking the truth in court and charged the accused based on the evidence gathered from known and unknown witnesses.
Taking the witness stand the cybercrime officer detective Mohamed Jusu attached to the cybercrime unit at the Criminal Investigation Department recognized the accused person in the dock as a senior and state citizen.
He said on the 3rd of October 2022 he was at the cyber lab unit when he received correspondence from detective sergeant 8231 Kanu UK for analysis.
He said he inserted the drive into a computer and discovered a video having a playtime of one minute and twenty-five seconds with the accused and two men captured.
The cyber Officer said he used the computer hash key to check for the authenticity and integrity of the said video.
He said the software helped him to know that the content was not tampered with.
He said he also used the software for voice analyzers which helped him to know that the voice was neither abused.
“My lord I played the said video severally to capture the wordings of the accused person so that I could make my observation and conclusion unbiased’, he stated.
Explaining further he said he reduced his findings to a report which he signed dated 11th October 2022 witnessed by his colleague.
Looking at the document shown to him by state counsel YI Sesay, the witness confirmed hit to be the report which was endorsed.
The defence object to the document saying they have not gone through it, highlighting paragraphs one, two and three which according to him are prejudicial and out way provocative values.
Defence counsel also stated that paragraphs three and four are conjecture with no analysis which if it has been an affidavit should have been expunged.
Responding to the defence state counsel YI Sesay said all that the defence has said doesn’t form a rule. He said in court they relied on procedure and law and during cross-examination, a witness Liable was discredited.
He prayed for the document to be tender because the rules and admissibility has been complied with.
Having listened to the argument on both sides
magistrate Marke Ngegba overruled the objection of the defence and allows the document to be tendered.
The cyber Officer was about to produce and tendered the pen drives that contain the video when defence counsel Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara objected saying they don’t know what it contains.
Defence counsel said the state must tell them what is inside the drive.
The witness was ordered by state counsel to dismount from the dock and show in a PowerPoint presentation the video that contains in the pen drive.
A few minutes after the video was played in the open court, the cyber Officer analyzing it said the video was live with people filtering comments.
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He said the video was made right at the charge office.