As Sierra Leone AG Gets Bloody Nose ‘Bogus’ Treason Charges Rubbished
Past Wednesday, 1st July, 2020, a jury headed by Justice Alhaji Momojah Stevens returned a famous verdict acquitting the former Defence, Internal Affairs minister and head of the then National Ebola Response Center in the Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma led All Peoples Congress (APC) Government, Rtd. Major Alfred Palo Conteh and others of all treason related charges.
The verdict by the twelve –man jury could well be likened to been a bloody nose for the prosecution team headed by the country’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Dr. Priscilla Schwartz (in photo), whose legal advice prompted the now regarded ‘bogus’ treason charges against the acquitted persons even though the police had earlier charged for arms –related offences.
It could be recalled that the former Defence and Internal Affairs Minister, Rtd. Major Alfred Palo Conteh and two others were standing trial for alleged treason following allegation made by the State that Palo Conteh took a loaded pistol to State House with the intention to kill the president.
It could also be recalled that on the 29th of May this year, the High Court presided over by a 12-man jury began hearing on the alleged treason case with the Attorney General and Minister of Justice leading the Prosecution team whilst the 1st accused, Alfred Palo Conteh, was represented by Dr. Abdulai O. Conteh, Ady Macauly, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara and others.
After over a month of legal between the prosecution and the defence team, the 12-man jury finally delivered their verdict past Wednesday, 1st July, 2020 which saw the 1st accused, Mr. Palo Conteh acquitted of 14 charges including all treason-related charges out of the 16 counts charges he was standing trial for whilst also acquitting the other accused persons of all charges brought against them by the state.
Although Palo Conteh was convicted on two counts charges of carrying loaded weapon to public place and unlawful possession of fire arms, the verdict of the jury dealt a heavy blow on the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Dr. Priscilla Schwartz, who many are now calling for her sacking for proffering the wrong legal advice to the state which ultimately has caused an embarrassment to the Bio led government.
By Ibrahim Alusine Kamara
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