Independent Witness Testifies in ‘Voire Dire’ Trial of Sukuta Trio Case

By Kebba Jeffang

The first prosecution witness who was recalled to give fresh testimony under the voire dire trial involving the three men from Sukuta TrioSukuta proceeded at the Bundung Magistrates’ Court presided over by Principal Magistrate Momodou Jallow, on Tuesday 9th August, 2016.

This mini trial was granted by the court following the defence’s application to test the voluntariness of the confessions made by his clients as the prosecution, at the time, wanted to tender their statements in the case.

When the case was called, Assistant Superintendent of Police, ASP Keita, appeared for the Inspector General of Police (IGP) while lawyer A. Fatty announced his appearance for the three accused persons.

The first prosecution witness, Mbye Bojang, in his evidence before the court said he was walking on the road and saw a man who was standing at the gates of Bulldozer base, commonly called Holgam in Kanifing. He said his caller later introduced himself as a police officer by the name Trawally.

“He first apologised and asked me to serve as an independent witness in the case involving three people. I saw the three accused persons sitting down with police officers and soldiers in the room,” he told the court.

Bojang said the police officer took out statements and read them out in English and which were at the same time being interpreted in Mandinka in the presence of the accused persons. He said he cannot repeat all that was read from the statements and that he does not know who wrote the statements but the accused confirmed that the statements were made by them.

“He (the police officer) told the accused persons that I was called as independent witness and assured me that the statements were not forcefully obtained from them,” he said.

The statements were shown to the witness and which he confirmed with his signature. Thereafter, the prosecution submitted the cautionary and voluntary statements of the accused persons for identification purposes.

There was no objection from the defence and the court admitted the statements only for identification purposes and not exhibits.

Subsequently, the case was adjourned to Thursday 11 August 2016 for continuation of his evidence.