By Foday Moriba Conteh
Two strongmen of the opposition All People’s Congress (APC) party former Freetown City Council Mayor, Herbert George Williams and Abu Bakarr Daramy were granted self-bail on the 5th August 2020 by High Court Judge, Justice Cosmotina Jarrett.
Defence Lawyer for the accused persons, Melron Nicol-Wilson, a Human Rights Lawyer secured their bail, after both Williams and Daramy had spent several months in detention, accused of murder, following the death of a journalist Ibrahim Samura, during an election campaign.
According to the allegation against the two persons both were accused of beating the journalist after which weeks later he gave up the ghost. However, the Defence lawyers argue otherwise that at the time of the alleged incident, the deceased had serious pre-existing health conditions, and so could not have died as a result of injuries sustained from the alleged violent confrontation.
Before the granting of bail, previous requests had previously been denied by the State. There is a school of thought which has assumed that for a Judge to now decide to grant bail may probably be a pointer to the fact that the Prosecution’s case is either weak or the evidence is seriously inadequate, thus making it unsafe to continue to hold the accused in detention.
The self-bail granted by Justice Jarret meant that the accused did not provide sureties to sign on their behalf.
It has been noted that after the sacking of former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Priscilla Schwartz and her replacement by the highly experienced and well respected Barrister, Anthony Brewah, there has been a plodding change in the SLPP Government’s attitude towards opposition politicians accused of wrongdoing by the Government.
Sierra Leoneans are only hoping that with a truly independent Judiciary political tension could cool down and national cohesion enhanced.
In another related development on the same date, it was reported that the former Defence Minister ,Retired Major Palo Conteh, who was cleared a few months ago of treason by a jury at the High Court but found guilty of unlawfully possessing guns, was once again denied bail at a separate court hearing.
Palo Conteh remains in detention as his trial continues at the Appeals Court in Freetown, after his lawyers launched an appeal against the two-count charge for which he was found guilty at his treason trial.
The case involving former Freetown Mayor Herbert George Williams and Abu Bakarr Daramy continues, after both have been granted bail.