• By Hassan Bruz, Northern Bureau Chief

It would appear there is now a challenge in the adage which says- ‘new brooms sweep well, but the Old ones know the Corners’. One is tempted to safely state that the current Leadership in the Judiciary cannot only sweep well, but is equally knowledgeable enough about all the corners.

This can be deduced from the exemplary performance of the newly transferred Magistrate in Port Loko- Augustine Samura. In spite of the fact that he has only recently been called to the Bench, yet he has been able to dispense justice without fear or favour in a judicial District that is so politically charged.

This week alone, Magistrate Augustine Samura concluded a number of court matters in Port Loko including the case between the Member of Parliament for Constituency 049- Hon. Alhajie Seray Dumbuya and my humble self. I was dragged to court on a 7 Counts Defamatory Libel Charges.

Although there were plans for the matter to be settled out of Court upon the intervention of some well meaning individuals, neither the Member of Parliament nor his battery of Lawyers were able to show up in court since Magistrate Samura took over the Files from his predecessor- Magistrate Kekura. He said this is a Court of Law and the procedures must be followed legally.

The Magistrate said it is always proper for a complainant to come back to court and outline his or her intended line of action for the records to be made straight. Magistrate Samura said there is no record as to the intention of the Complainant in this matter.

He spoke of the preciousness of the Court’s time and why he will not allow anyone to have it unnecessarily whacked. After a series of adjournments, Magistrate Samura came to the conclusion that the Complainant has not accorded the matter with the deserved seriousness. The Matter was therefore thrown out of Court for want of Prosecution.

It would be recalled that I –Hassan Bruz was issued with criminal summons following a radio broadcast which encircled the rehabilitation of the Bai Burreh Memorial Hall in Port Loko with regards the judicious use of the building materials. The Member of Parliament took offence and proceeded to pursue a legal against me. So it is that very matter that has now been thrown out of court for want of prosecution.

Perhaps the case between the State versus Ballah Dumbuya – Vehicle Mechanic and Mohamed Marrah is the most interesting for the week under review. They were brought to Court on a 3 Count charge of Conspiracy, Larceny and Unlawful Possession. The third count has to do with the possession of a quantity of substance believed to be Cannabis. The Accused Persons are said to have conspired with other persons unknown, to steal some Panels from the Solar Poles at the Red Cross Centre in Old Port Loko. The matter came up for hearing on 11th, July 2016 and was being prosecuted by Police Constable 3435 Kargbo S.

The Accused Persons pleaded not guilty on Counts 1 and 2 respectively, while the 2nd Accused -Mohamed Marrah pleaded guilty on Count 3, which has to do with Unlawful Possession of Cannabis. A total of 5 Witnesses including 3 Factual, were led in evidence.

According to Detective Police Constable 14943 Kamara M.A, a team of Police Officers visited the scene of crime where they identified some of the Poles whose Solar Panels were carted away. He told the court how they later proceeded to conduct searches at the premises of both Accused Persons. But nothing of Police interest was found. He said the quantity of Cannabis was found at the residence of the 2nd Accused.
Both Accused Persons relied on the statement they had earlier made to the Police. Magistrate Samura therefore sentenced them to 24 months imprisonment each on Count 1 which is Conspiracy.

The 2nd Accused – Mohamed Marrah was handed an additional 6 months jail sentence for the unlawful possession of Cannabis contrary to section [48] sub section [1] of the Pharmacy drugs ACT 1988 of which the Accused pleaded guilty. Meanwhile the no nonsense Magistrate is perusing the evidences so far adduced against Sorie Kamara on the Murder of Fatmata Kamara of Mapathei Village in the Maforki Chiefdom to determine if the matter can be commuted to the High Court.