September 28, 2022

By Janet A. Sesay

Uneasy calm erupted at the Sexual Offences Model Court in Freetown forcing the presiding judge to initially indefinitely adjourn the matter.

Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai who is representing leader of the Alliance Democratic Party, Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray had it hot with the presiding judge, Justice Samuel Taylor. The lawyer and judge exchanged insulting words making the situation in the courtroom rowdy and quarrelsome.

The situation erupted when state prosecutor, Umu Sumaray brought the eleventh prosecution witness Mohammed Sapuka Konuwa before the court to explain about victim’s birth certificate.

It was at this point that defense counsel Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai objected that the witness is not the proper person to explain to the court about the birth certificate of the victim as he was not present when the birth certificate was prepared and issued to the victim parents.

After raising that objection, Justice Samuel Taylor told defence counsel that he should speak like a lawyer. Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai also replied the judge that the statement was insulting. Owing to the argument, between them Justice Samuel Taylor adjourned the matter without a date given.

Before the argument, state prosecutor, Umu Sumaray applied for an additional witness to testify in court. She made this application pursuant to section 188 of the Criminal Procedure Act No 32 of 1965 and on the basis that the name of the witness was not on the list of those who should testify in court.

The witness who is the eleventh prosecution witness Mohamed Samuka Konuwa, a public servant attached to the National Civil Registration Authority as the Deputy Director Information Technology and Identity management told the court that, some of his duties are to provide technical leadership in registration of all vital inventory including birth and death certificates.

Witness also told the court that he was aware about the subpoena that was served on them at the office  and the subpoena was for them to identify the registration of birth certificate of the victim and  to testify in court.

The birth registration of the victim, he said was not in court because recording births and deaths is now directly under the purview of the national civil registration.

Witness further testified he recalled the recording and issuing a birth certificate to the alleged victim and its endorsement that was signed by one of their registrars in Kono.

At this juncture, Defence counsel Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai for the first accused Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray objected to the evidence of the witness on the basis that he is not a competent witness and that he was not the one that issued the birth certificate to the victim.

He said the birth certificate in question is not only in their record but also stand as a proof of age into their identity management system that is electronic situated at their office.

The said birth certificate of the victim was shown to the witness for proper identification. The witness identified the birth certificate as the original copy that has the stamp of the national civil registration in Kono with the victim name on it.

The birth certificate was produced and tendered in court respectively. The witness also said he was aware of the certified true copy of the birth certificate of the victim. He explained further that in 2017, mass registration was done across the country in which birthday certificates and national identity was mandatory and while on that the birth certificate of the victim was submitted to them.

The matter was later re-called and adjourned for today.