By Muhammad Bah
In the trial of Mustapha Njie, the taxi driver that was driving the
vehicle the late Binta Jarju and her friend Mr. Sulayman Bah, boarded on Thursday 26th March 2015 at the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court, the question who
specifically shot Binta Jarju was asked. There was no specific answer but the third prosecution witness, Lance Corporal Abdoulie Badjie of the State Guard told the court: “We fired.”
Mr. Njie the driver is standing trial on two counts, “Disobedience to
Lawful Orders” and “Rash and Negligent Act Causing Death”, to which he
pleaded not guilty. He had earlier pleaded guilty to two minor
offences – “Unlicensed Driving” and “Failing to Stop when required”.
In this criminal trial Mustapha is represented by Lawyer Edward Gomez
while the Inspector General of Police is represented by Assistant
Superintendent Police Mballow. Corporal Badjie appeared before the
Magistrate Court presided by Magistrate Patrick Gomez.
Lance Corporal Abdoulie Badjie told the court that he is a native of
Madiana Village, Kombo South and a military officer at the State
Guard. He told the court that he remembered all that happened on the
7th March at 11pm at night.
He said they were on a joint patrol on that night mounting a check
point at Manjai Kunda. He told the court that a taxi driver came and
passed the check point they mounted and they shouted at him to stop
but he continued. He told the court they were three security officers,
one Babali a Police Intervention Unit officer, Landing Jarju a
military officer and he himself who followed the taxi.
He said they first fired warning shots but the driver failed to stop
and continued speeding. He said he and his colleagues followed the
taxi with a pick up because they became suspicious as the driver
failed to stop. “We overtook him on the left and stopped in front of
the taxi but he (the driver) drove to a side road on the right. We
followed him again and this time we shot the taxi,” Corporal Jarju
explained to the court.
During cross-examination, the defence counsel Mr Gomez asked the
prosecution witness who among the officers who chased the taxi made
the shots that allegedly killed Binta Jarju. The witness replied: “We
fired”. The defence counsel asked again: “I said who made the shots,
specifically?” Corporal Badjie repeatedly insisted “We fired” the gun
shots to demobilize the car aiming at the tyres.
Defence Counsel E. Gomez put it to him that none of the tyres were found
been shot after the incident.
He further asked him whether they have made any effort to inspect the
taxi after the shooting. He told the court that they looked into the
taxi and saw a lady and two men and the lady was bleeding.
He then asked the witness whether after they made the shootings they
inspected the car or opened the boot to see whether these people
possessed weapons or illegal items. He told the court they did not
open the boot to inspect it after the incident.
Lawyer Gomez also asked the witness whether they made any attempt to
help the lady after they realised what had happened. The witness
said they waited for the police and later went to the Kairaba police
station and gave a statement before continuing with their patrol. The
lawyer told the court that this contradicts the testimony of the first
prosecution witness who told the court that the security officers
ignored his plea to assist and left.
At this juncture the case was adjourned till 31 March 2015 at 2:30 pm.
By Muhammad Bah