8 Women and 4 Men indicted on 27 counts of heroin cocaine dealings
On the 7th of December 2013 the police did an impromptu search at 30 Lumley Street in area where hard drugs are sold and consumed during which 12 people, Isha Bangura, Louisa Karim, Emma Karama, Pa Sonie Bangura, Mustapha Bangura, Raniatu Saffa, Arufa John, Wilfred Shawers, Tina Thompson, Nenneh Barie, Fatmata Sowa and Zinab Denikeh were arrested. After investigation they were subsequently indicted on 27 counts ranging from unlawful possession of heroin cocaine, selling prohibited drugs (heroin cocaine), dealing with prohibited drugs (heroin cocaine), visiting a place where prohibited drugs are sold an consumed (Musa Bangura), frequenting an area where prohibited drugs are sold and consumed (Anita John, Tina Thompson, and Menneh Barie) contrary to section 49(1) of the Pharmacy and Drugs Act 2002.
The atmosphere in Magistrate court number 2 was tense on February 13th as the defence lawyers cross examined prosecution witnesses, Detective Sergeant Elizabeth Conteh and a pharmaceutical analyst who did the forensic testing of the suspected cocaine.
Emmanuel T. Koroma Esq representing the 2nd and 3rd accused persons asked the detective if she took statements from accused person’s number 2 and 3 which she accepted. She also accepted that 2nd and 3rd accused persons made a denier statement with regards to the offences charged. She was also asked to tell the court how she came to ascertain that the substance she found with some of the accused persons is cocaine. She said she relied on what the investigating officers told her. She also accepted having once seen cocaine. She recalled charging accused number 2 and 3 with dealing with hard drugs. She denied having gone to the scene where they were arrested. She also denied having interviewed traders and others around the vicinity. She also refused having seen with her naked eyes accused number 2 and 3 dealing with hard drugs. She also refused being overwhelmed by the investigation.
Also led in cross examination by C.F Edwards Esq on behalf of the 6th accused, D. Sergeant Conteh accepted that accused number 6 refused the allegations made against her. She was asked if the accused testified to her that she was within that area for another purpose other than the allegations charged. After looking at the statement, she said the accused only said ‘she was there to sell’ so she can’t tell if it was cocaine. The magistrate then noted that as an investigator, it was her place to ask her questions in order to qualify that.
C.E Edwards’s Esq then told the court accused number 6 normally sells beer in the area. D. Sergeant Conteh also accepted that accused number 6 said she had no knowledge of cocaine selling and consumption around the area. Accused number 4 5 and 8 were not represented by counsels so they were given the audience to ask questions but it was not the Detective who took statements from them.
Led in the cross examination of Micheal Lahai a Pharmacist, and analyst of forensic and micro biological substances, F.B Kalifala esq asked what his qualification was. He said he was a holder of Bachelors in Pharmacy with honors. Secondly, he accepted having analyzed the suspected cocaine. He also accepted not signing the report produced after the analyses qualifying that the reports are not signed by him. He also accepted that it was a photocopy of the report that was before the court.
At this juncture, F.B Kalifala esq applied for the document to be expunged for it is not an original copy relying on section 70 of the Criminal Procedure Act. He said he will only continue with cross examination after receiving his ruling.
The prosecution led by Sergeant Jah in response said nothing in section 70 of the Act says when a document has been tendered it should be expunged and that counsel’s application was vague. However in the previous session during which the document was tendered, defence counsels objected to the tendering of the document because it was a photocopy but the prosecution convinced the court that it was an original stating that all the signatures were in black ink.
Bail application made on behalf of accused number 2 and 3 was rejected and all accused persons were remanded in custody till the 27 February, 2013 for the ruling on the application made by F.B Kalifala esq and continuation of the summary trial.
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