The Prosecution in the ongoing Court Martial trial has officially closed its case after leading 37 witnesses. The final witness, presented by Prosecuting Counsel Joseph Sesay, testified on Wednesday, June 5, 2024.

Addressing Judge Advocate Mark Ngegba and the Board Members, Lawyer Sesay requested that one additional witness listed on the indictment be dismissed, citing Cap 49 of the Armed Forces Act. He confirmed that this witness would no longer be part of the prosecution’s case.

The trial involves 26 accused individuals facing 88 charges, ranging from various offences. These charges were investigated by the Commanding Officers of the accused, in accordance with the Armed Forces Act of 1961. Following these investigations, it was deemed appropriate for the charges to be addressed by a Court Martial.

After presenting a comprehensive case with testimonies from military personnel among the 37 witnesses, Lawyer Sesay concluded the prosecution’s case.

In response, Defence Lawyer Ady Macauley announced that the defence team is preparing to present their case. Macauley requested a ten-minute recess to consult with the accused regarding their next steps, specifically whether to submit a written no-case submission or to have the accused take the witness stand.

Following the consultation, Macauley informed the court that several accused individuals had opted for a no-case submission, while others, including the 11th, 12th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 19th, 22nd, 23rd, and 25th accused, would testify. He requested a two-week adjournment to prepare their submissions.

For the 23rd accused, Macauley indicated that three witnesses would be called. The 9th and 21st accused would testify themselves, without additional witnesses. Lawyer A.I. Kamara added that the 2nd and 6th accused would likely take the stand in their own defence.

Additionally, Lawyer Ibrahim Bangura from the Legal Aid Board requested access to the records of proceedings to address issues raised by the prosecution.

Judge Advocate Ngegba, however, denied the two-week adjournment request, granting only one week, citing the five months already spent on the proceedings since January 2024. He emphasized that the defence had been provided with the bulk of the exhibits and thus should be prepared to proceed sooner. The trial is set to resume on June 12, 2024.