The State on Wednesday dropped the charge under the emergency regulation against 12 SLPP supporters in Kenema and the former Regional Senior Human Rights Officer for the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone .
The 13 are standing trial in the Kenema Magistrate Court after they were arrested on Independence Day in 2015 on allegations of illegal gathering, riotous conduct, incitement and other related matters.
In dropping the count charge, Senior State Counsel Monfred Sesay told the court that he was applying to amend the formation of count 5 which was an offence charged under the Public Emergency Regulation “which we do not want to proceed with so it’s left now with 10 counts” .The lead Prosecution lawyer said.
The Senior State Counsel had earlier apologised to the court for the prosecution’s continued absence in on sixth occasion. He however assured the court that they were ready to pursue with the matter.
Testifying in court, the 8th Prosecution witness- PC Lansana Kebbie 10437 told the court he recalled on Monday 27 April 2015 when he was detailed at the lock up with other officers. He continued that they heard some SLPP supporters were rioting at their office on Hangha road which led to the arrest of 12 of them and later a Senior human rights officer working for the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone.
The witness further testified that the Human Rights Commission staff told them they had no right to arrest the demonstrators as it was their constitutional right. When crossed examined by defence Counsel B.A Bangura whether he knew the work of the Human Rights Commission staff, the witness answered in the negative.
Prosecution witness 9 PC 11697 Denis Gbondowa also recounted the same incident that led to the arrest of the 13 people. In the same vein, PW10 and PW11 gave collaborative account of the incident that led to the arrest of the 2nd accused- Dawson Kuyateh and 3rd accused who is the female young generation leader foe the SLPP. They recounted that the two had gone to the office of AIG Karrow Kamara to demand the release of the arrested unconditionally. It was then that they said the accused persons referred to the AIG as ‘stupid APC Police officer that is always bias against the SLPP in Kenema.
The matter was adjourned to tomorrow Thursday 11th February 2016.