By Rohey Jadama
In the trial of Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, Party Leader of the United
Democratic Party (UDP) and 19 other supporters of his party, yesterday 21 June, 2016 two police officers testified as the tenth and eleven prosecution witnesses.
Meanwhile just as before, the trial continued without the participation of the accused persons and the admission of cautionary and voluntary statements without cross-examination. So far the cautionary and voluntary statements of 20 accused persons have been admitted. When the case was called before Justice Eunice O. Dada, of the Banjul High Court, Hadi Saleh Barkun, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) announced his representation for the state, while the accused persons were not represented.
Saikou B. Bojang, testified as the tenth Prosecution witness (PW10). He told the court that he lives at Casakunda, that he is a police Officer attached to the police headquarters in Banjul. He said he is a first class constable. When asked by the DPP whether he recognises the accused persons, the witness responded that he recognised one of the accused persons i.e. Mr. Ousainou Darboe.
“Do you know one Lamin Jatta, one of the accused persons”, asked the
DPP and the witness responded in the positive.
The witness told the court that while he was at the police headquarters, he was informed by his commander to go to the Kanifing P.I.U to record the cautionary and voluntary statements of the accused persons. He further told the court upon arrival he was told to caution one of them.
PW10 further told the court that before recording the statements, he read the cautionary wordings to Lamin Jatta and after recording his statements, he read them to him to his own understanding and then he signed it.
When asked by the DPP whether if he is shown the said statements
he will recognise them, he responded in the positive, adding that his name and signature are on them. He was shown the purported statements and he identified them and the DPP applied to tender them as exhibits.
When asked whether he has any objection to the tendering of his
statements, Mr. Jatta was mute.
The trial judge said in the absence of any response from Lamin Jatta
his cautionary and voluntary statements are admitted as exhibits. Furthermore, when the court clerk asked Mr. Jattta whether he has any
question for the witness, he did not respond.
Sarjo Bah, a police Officer testified as the eleventh prosecution
witness. He told the court that he lives in Brikama Jalanba.
He further told the court that he recognises Fakebba Colley, Duguna
Suso, Mamadi Fatty and Dodou Ceesay.
He continued, “On the 16 April when I went to work at the serious crime
unit at police headquarters I was told by my boss to go to the Kanifing P.I.U office to take the statements of these four accused. Upon arrival I called them one after the other and I took their voluntary and cautionary statements from each of them before recording the statements”. He added that he read the cautionary wordings to them and he translated them into Mandinka which they acknowledged that they understand some of them thumb printed and others signed”.
When asked by the DPP whether if he is shown the said statements he will recognise them, he responded in the positive noting that he had appended his signature on them. He was shown the purported statements and he identified them. The DPP now applied to tender them as exhibits.
When Fakebba Colley, Duguna Suso, Mamadi Fatty and Dodou Ceesay were asked whether they had any objection to the tendering of their
statements, they did not respond to the court clerk.
Justice Dada held that in the absence of any objection of the
admissibility of the cautionary and voluntary statements of Fakebba
Colley, Duguna Suso, Mamadi Fatty and Dodou Ceesay, their statements
are admitted as exhibits.
When the four accused persons were again asked whether they have any
questions for the witness, they were mute.
The DPP applied for the witness to be discharged which was granted.
At this juncture, the DPP applied for the case to be adjourned till
Thursday for them to advise themselves whether to call another witness
or to close their case. However, after some minutes the DPP told the
court that the same case is coming up at the Court of appeal on
Thursday and that they normally sit in the morning. He applied for the
case to be adjourned till Monday, which was granted by the court.
Subsequently, the case was adjourned till Monday 27 June, 2016 for
continuation of hearing.