Court name
High Court
Case number
1 of
Case name
S v Alie Kargbo
Law report citations
Media neutral citation
[2021] SLHC 3
Judge
Alhadi, J

                                                                  JUDGEMENT

The accused person (Alie Kargbo) was charged with two count on an indictment dated the 3rd day of January 2019. Count 1 = House breaking and Larceny Contrary to section 26 (1) of the Larceny Act 1916. The particulars of offence alleges that the accused person on the 23rd day of September 2019 at Freetown in the western area of the Republic of Sierra Leone broke and entered the dwelling House of Mamadu Samura Sesay with intent to steal and stole therein the goods or items alleged therein all to the total value of Le 5,105,000 properties of the said Mmamadu Samura Sesay.

Count II: Malicious Damage contrary to section 51 of the Malicious Damage Act 1861. The particulars of the offence reads that the accused person on the 23rd day of September 2019 at Freetown in the western area of the Republic of Sierra Leone maliciously damaged one window guard valued Le70,000 , two hard board ceiling  value Le90,000, one door locker value Le20,000 and one piece window glass valued Le17,000 property of Mamadu Samurs Sesay.

BURDEN OF PROOF: Lord Sankey L. C. in the leading case of Woolmington Vs D.P.P had this to say

     “Throughout the web of the English Criminal Lawone golden thread is always to be seen, that it is the duty of the prosecution to prove the prisoner’s guilt subject to the defence of insanity, and subject also to any statutory exception”.

This means that there is a presumption of innocence in all criminal trials and the onus is on the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused person is guilty of the offence charged. This principle that the prosecution must prove the accused guilt of the prisoner is par of the common law of England and no attempt to whittle it down can be entertained. This is the same position of the criminal proceedings in Sierra Leone.

                     ELEMENTS OF BOTH OFFENCES:

For House Breaking and Larceny contrary to section 26 (1) of the Larceny Act 1916, the prosecution must prove breakage and entry and that the building/house was occupied. The prosecution must further prove Larceny and was done so with intent.

For the offence of Malicious Damage contrary to section 51 of the Malicious Damage Act 1861 the prosecution must prove that the prisoner accused person damaged property belonging to another and that the damage or destruction was done maliciously with intent or recklessness.

THE EVIDENCE: The prosecution led three witnesses. Two witnesses of fact and one formal witness.  PW1 is one Mahmoud Samura Sesay who apparently is the owner of goods stolen by the accused person and damaged properties contained in the particulars of offence in both counts. He told the court that on the 23/9/19, he received a call from one Osman Tolo PW2. On arrival, he observed that people had surrounded his dwelling house and further observed that his window had been broken and damaged. He opened the house door and further observed that the money he had kept in one of his drawers in his bedroom was missing. He attempted to open the other room but was locked. He called the police and before the arrival of the police the accused person suddenly opened and came out of the room, he had locked himself.

PW1 further observed that his son’s school or “popo” bag, DVD, Charger and Banana Pin were in the possession of the accused person. He also observed that the lappas of his wife, eight (8) pieces of wax to be precise, Samsung Phone, DVD and the sum of Le2,730,000 had been stolen.

The vital piece of the evidence that the accused person was found in the house of PW1 was corroborated by the evidence of PW2 (Osman Kamara) who independently confirmed that on the arrival of PW1 together with a certain prison officer they all entered into PW1.s house and observed that the accused person had locked himself in one of the rooms and when the prison officer knocked the door several times the accused person came out and was arrested and handed-over to the police.

Further confirmation was made by PW3 the investigating office who adduced evidence …. when he visited the scene of crime, he observed breakages on the kitchen window and the store. He also adduces evidence that the case and exhibit file was handed-over to him with one colored DVD Player, one damaged mobile phone, one black school or “Popo” bag and One banana pin.

Again, the aforementioned was corroborated by the very accused person himself when he confessed been found in the house of PW1 and that he stole the properties of PW1 so that he could sell them and raise money.

Additionally, in the defense of the accused person that is to say in his evidence in chief he also confirmed that he had broken and entered the house of the complainant (PW1) and stole therein. See the evidence of DW1 at page 5 of the records. The coherency of evidence in this case is quite an imaginable one which deserves due legal attention by this court. On the issue of confession which is self corroboration especially so when it is supported by the evidence of a witness. See the case of R Vs KULABANDA.

Moreover, I have carefully noted the physical damage done on the windows which were exhibited as A1-9 and confirmed by PW1 and his statement tendered as exhibit B1-9 and his evidence in chief.

CONCLUSION: In the light of the aforementioned, especially that of the evidence of PW1, PW2, PW3 and the evidence of the accused person, am satisfied that the prosecution has proven their case beyond reasonable doubt to warrant a conviction of the accused person. I have therefore found the accused person (Alie Kargbo) guilty as charged on both counts.