“My client has been abused in jail and his dreadlocs have been cut off” LAJ’s Attorney
By Alpha Kamara-TVS Washington
Principal Magistrate Mark Ngegba has committed for trial the case between the Inspector General of Police and accused musician Alhaji Amadu Bah popularly called LAJ to the High Court of Sierra Leone. LAJ is one of Sierra Leone’s popular musicians who is standing trial for three (3) Counts of Robbery with violence, and one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
It was alleged that LAJ on 12th June 2022 at Leonco Fuel Station, Water Street, Congo Cross in Freetown, robbed Frances Wilson, Ishmael Kamara and Christina Koroma. It is also alleged that he assaulted Musa Mansaray in the process.
At the close of the prosecution, a ‘No Case To Answer Submission’ was made by the Defense team on behalf of the accused, LAJ.
Principal Magistrate Mark Ngegba explained that a Preliminary Investigation is a proceeding in which the Court seeks to determine whether there is sufficient evidence that a crime has been committed and the accused is probably guilty thereof and should be held for trail. According to him, the standard of proof in a Preliminary Investigation is not the same as the one in trail.
“In a trial, the Prosecutor must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused committed the offence charged and that any such doubt arising from the facts must be held for the benefit of the accused,” said Magistrate Ngegba, reiterating that, “This means that the Prosecution must prove every element of the offence alleged.”
Referencing the Defense team, he said they argued that the evidence against the accused LAJ is not enough to warrant a committal to the High Court. The Defense referred to few instances of inconsistencies such as the evidence of PW1 who stated that the Manager was around during the incident.
The Prosecution however relied on their factual witnesses. They asserted that it was the accused LAJ who robbed Frances Wilson Two Million and Ninety Thousand Leones and robbed Ishmael Kamara Four Million Two Hundred Thousand Leones. By exhibits, the Prosecution attempted to establish the element of violence used during the alleged robbery.
In his Ruling, Magistrate Ngegba said, “having given due consideration to the evidence in its entirety, I hold that there is sufficient evidence to warrant the trial of the accused at the High Court for the offence charged.” Bail was also denied.
LAJ was arrested on June 12th and has been in detention since then. His lawyer said his client has been treated badly in jail including cutting off his dreadlocs which is his key musical identity. LAJ, one of the critics of the current government, said all the charges against him are false. He urged his fans to be peaceful and respect the court process.
Here is Freedom, a song done by LAJ.