BY: MOHAMED SAHR

In the ongoing court martial proceedings, Prosecuting Witness number 26, Mohamed Jusu, a cyber security analyst, took center stage on Thursday, April 11th, 2023, at the High Court of Sierra Leone. Jusu presented significant digital evidence, including images and screenshots retrieved from Amadu Koita Makalu’s Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra phone. The images depicted Makalu and other accused individuals, shedding light on their alleged involvement in various activities.

The revelation of these digital materials sparked heated debate in the courtroom. Defense counsel Lawyer I. Kamara raised concerns about the potential bias that could arise if the accused persons’ phones were included as evidence. Kamara argued that such inclusion could compromise the fairness of the trial and prejudice the outcome in favor of the prosecution.

Echoing Kamara’s sentiments, Lawyer Charlie Israel Williams stressed the importance of maintaining judicial integrity and fairness. He emphasized that revisiting the issue during cross-examination was essential for clarity.

However, State counsel J.A.K Sesay defended the prosecution’s actions, asserting that presenting the phones was necessary for clarification and did not violate the principles of fairness.

Judge Advocate Mark Ngegba ultimately ruled in favor of the prosecution, allowing the digital evidence to be admitted into the record. Despite objections from the defense, Ngegba emphasized the importance of proceeding with the cross-examination.

A total of nine phones were tendered as evidence, each belonging to different accused individuals. These included devices owned by Edward Koroma, Staff Sergeant Fayia Lebbie, Aiah Gbendeh, Abdul Razak Kamara, Warrant Officer 1 Sitta Bangura, Mohamed Kamara, Ibrahim Thorley Bangura, and Amadu Koita Makalu.

Furthermore, Mohamed Jusu presented images on the courtroom screen, purportedly showing the accused individuals, including the 6th accused person, in various contexts related to their alleged plot to overthrow President Bio. The defense counsels objected to the authenticity of these images, arguing that they were not adequately informed about the state counsel’s intention to display them.

Despite the objections, Judge Advocate Ngegba once again overruled the defense, allowing the images to be presented as evidence. The proceedings were adjourned to April 12th, 2024, for further cross-examination of Mohamed Jusu, the prosecuting witness.

The courtroom drama underscores the complexity of the case and the significance of digital evidence in modern legal proceedings. As the trial continues, both the prosecution and the defense remain committed to presenting their arguments diligently, ensuring a fair and just resolution.

 

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