Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Voir dire in the Sierra Leone treason case

Bravo to Politico SL News's Aminata Phidelia Allie for vivid courtroom coverage of the Sierra Leone treason [see later post: treason was not charged] court-martial. Currently at issue is whether the president of the court-martial was personally biased against the most senior of the 14 accused:
The issue, Lawyer [Julius] Cuffie said, bordered on an earlier internal military matter which led to the setting-up of a tribunal. In that case, Capt. [Prince] Sesay presented incriminating evidence exonerating himself and implicating Col. [Usman] Turay who was the then commanding officer.
“Since then, there has been a bad blood between the two and anytime they meet, the proposed president [Col. Turay] would cast impassions on the accused person as a bad soldier. This had led to my client living in constant fear as a result of the fact that the then commanding officer is a superior”, the defense lawyer submitted.
He further told the court that Col. Turay was also recently expelled from a military war college in Nigeria for alleged misconduct. He said they, as defense lawyers, were of the conviction that the expulsion of the panel president from a military academy “strongly impinges upon his character, good conduct and probity, especially the fact that he is a superior officer of the RSLAF”.
A ruling on the defense's challenge for cause with respect to Col. Turay is expected in the morning. 

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