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Two Dragged to Court for Malicious Damage

By Shadrach Aziz Kamara

Bernard Tawarally and Alfred Thompson have their first appearance before Magistrate Mark Ngegba of the Pademba Road Magistrate Court No. 2 in Freetown for unlawfully entering into one Mr. Jalloh’s land situated at ToKe Village, Goderich in Freetown and maliciously damaged a makeshift structure worth thousands of Leones.

The defendants appeared before the court on three counts charges of trespass, malicious damage and larceny, contrary to the laws of Sierra Leone.

It was alleged on the 29th June 2022, at Time Village Goderich, in Freetown Western Rural District (WARD) , the defendants unlawfully entered into Michael Jalloh’s land in an annoyed manner.

The charge sheet indicated that Bernard Tawarally and Alfred Thompson, on the aforementioned date and address in Freetown maliciously damaged a makeshift structure worth thousands of Leones.

Eventually, count three adduced that both defendants, on the same date and place stole two tons of iron rods, ten bags of cement, cap nail and other properties all valued at thirty nine thousand, six hundred and fifty Leones (Le39, 650).

Led in evidence by Charles Pujeh representing the prosecution witness (PW) 1, Michael Jalloh resident of Goderich in Freetown, a businessman told the court that he recognized the first and second defendants in respect of the case before the court.  Mr Jalloh said he could recall 29th June 2022, adding that on that day, he received a phone call from his caretaker informing him about the incident. He narrated to the bench that his caretaker told him that both defendants and thugs have unlawfully entered the land demolished his makeshift structure and also carted ten bags of cement, zinc, nails and other properties worth thirty nine thousand six hundred and fifty leones (Le39,659). Mr Jalloh further informed the court that though he is not the actual owner of the land being it a family land, but the same family has handed over to him a power of Antony or conveyance to him as a caretaker, which was produced for identification. He said both defendants claimed possession of the said land and unlawfully entered the land assaulted his boys and also damaged his corrugated structure for erecting a permanent structure on the said land. The Witness said both defendants reported him to the Local United Commander (LUC) at the Adonkia Police Station, Goderich in Freetown alleging that he had built on their land. He continued by stating that the LUC at Adonkia called upon him at the aforesaid police station requesting for a document to substantial that the land belongs to him, which he did.

“My Lord I took my documents to the LUC at the Adonkia Police Station and after examining the documents, he told me that I have no case to answer,” he informed the bench.

On Monday 27th June 2022, he added that the defendants reported him at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) headquarters where he was eventually detained for five days.

The witness disclosed that while the defendants was demolishing his makeshift structure, his caretaker took photograph of them.

“My Lord I visited the crime scene and discovered that the first defendant, Bernard Tawarally is erecting fence on the said land,” Mr Jalloh narrated to the court. He tendered the power of Antony or conveyance for identification to show that he is in charge of the said.

During cross examination by the Defense Counsel, J.K. Lansana asked the witness that on the day of the alleged incident, he was not at the crime scene, which he answered in the affirmative.

Lawyer Lansana suggested to him that before the incident occurred, the first defendant dragged him to court for the said matter. He also responded in the affirmative.

He put it to him that on the day of the incident, he didn’t see the first defendant carting away anything from the land.

Responding, he said he didn’t specifically see him, by then he was detention at the CID headquarters.

Lawyer B.Koroma representing the second defendant, Alfred Thompson asked the witness when incident occurred.

Responding, Mr Jalloh said the incident occurred between 27th and 1st July 2022.

Lawyer Koroma put it again to him that he is not the actual owner of the land, he agreed with him, but told the court that he is the caretaker of the land in question.

Both counsel applied for bail separately on behalf of their clients by relying on section 79 (2) and (3) of the Criminal Procedure Act of No. 32 of 1965.

Lawyer Koroma assured the bench his client would not jump bail either or interfered with prosecution witnesses.

Having heard the applications from both counsels, Magistrate Ngegba granted hundred thousand bail to both defendants and he ordered both defendants to stay off from the land in question and the matter was adjourned to Thursday 4th August 2022.

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