“Sait Matty Jaw Has Committed No Crime” Says Defence Counsel

By Mamadou Dem
Defence attorney for Sait Matty Jaw, the lecturer at the University ofSait Matty Jaw
The Gambia (UTG), who is standing trial on four counts before the Banjul Magistrates’ Court, yesterday, 13 April, submitted that his client has committed no crime.Lawyer Lamin S. Camara made this pronouncement while making a ‘no case
to answer’ submission on behalf of the said accused before Magistrate
Samsideen Conteh.
He started by telling the court that they wished to exercise their
right under section 166 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) of the
laws of the Gambia.
“The accused person, Sait Matty Jaw is charged with four counts of
various offences, ranging from conspiracy to commit a misdemeanour,
failure to register a business and two counts of disobedience of
statutory duty. It is our humble submission that prosecution has
woefully failed to establish the minimum evidential burden required
for the accused person to be asked to enter his defence,” said Camara.
The defence counsel argued that it is trite law that where the
prosecution has failed to prove  the elements charged, the court
should proceed to discharge that particular accused person on that
charge or charges after a no case submission has been made.
He recalled that the prosecution called three witnesses in an effort
to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt.

“It is our submission that the prosecution witnesses did not advance
or give any cogent evidence that required the court to ask the accused
to enter his defence,” he argued.

Barrister Camara further submitted that Pw1 testified among other things that he obtained cautionary
and voluntary statements from the accused but when asked under
cross-examination what he did prior to obtaining the statements, he
said he read the cautionary wordings to the accused person.

The defence told the court that Pw1 did not say that an independent
witness was present while recording or obtaining such statements from
the accused. He added that what was more interesting in the evidence
of Pw1 was that he informed the court that the accused person
alongside two others were accused of trying to conduct a nationwide
survey without a clearance from the authorities.

He therefore questioned whether the accused person did actually try to
conduct nationwide survey without clearance from the authorities.

The defence further submitted that during Pw1’s evidence in-chief, he
testified that he investigated the matter during the course of which
they found out that the accused conducted training for potential
surveyors for about four to five days and that these surveyors were
sent almost to all the regions in the country.
During cross-examination of the witness, this witness told the court
that exhibit A2-A3 that are questionnaires in respect of the survey to
be conducted were not authored by the accused person and does not bear
his name anywhere, counsel camara added.

“It is also very obvious on exhibit A that there is no independent
witness on the exhibit as per the evidence of Pw1. Assuming without
conceding that exhibit A contains a confession of any kind whatsoever
be link to any of the charges because exhibit A has not made any value
at all under section 31 sub 2 of the Evidence Act”, he said.

Lawyer Camara further submitted that the second prosecution witness,
Mustapha Jaw, testified as to his participation in the workshop and
the questionnaires they were given. He said the witness was very
truthful when he said “we asked the facilitators whether there was a
clearance for the training and they said they will take care of it
later.”

The defence argued that Pw2 did not communicate his consent to the
accused person, adding that he (Pw2) also testified that the training
they attended was about an interview.

Still on the evidence of Pw3, the defence submitted that Amadou John
told the court that he told the facilitators that there was a need for
clearance.

At this juncture, Lawyer Camara submitted that his client was neither
a facilitator nor the author of the questionnaires. He said Mr. John
testified that when he raised the issue of clearance to the accused
person via text, the accused told him to raise it with the
facilitators. He added that apart from the training, no data was
collected in Banjul. “This evidence was confirmed by Pw1.”

“My humble submission is that no crime was committed and no crime was
in contemplation by the accused person,” submitted Camara.

He said Pw3 has also told the same court that the accused was never
aware that clearance was not obtained and that all the witnesses
admitted that all what transpired was a training.

“There is no right for commission even if the accused collected data,
much more he did not collect any. There is no evidence before the
court that Mr. Jaw collected any data,” he submitted.

Lawyer Camara argued further that for prosecution to succeed with a
prima facie case, it needs to prove certain elements of the offence
and that the evidence of the prosecution must have been so unreliable
that no reasonable tribunal will convict and that the evidence of the
prosecution must have been thoroughly discredited under
cross-examination.

He said there is nowhere in the evidence adduced by prosecution
witnesses that the accused involved in carrying out any business
anywhere in the country.

The defence cited some authorities in cases in Nigeria and the State
against Mambury Njie where the trial judge, Justice Mikailu, held that
the prosecution must prove the statute that impose that duty on the
accused person. “No duty was impose on the accused by any statute and
no business was carried out by the accused,” he submitted.

He told the court that the prosecution has not established any of the
ingredients, i.e. the ‘Mens rea and Actus rea’ of the offence charged.
Defence counsel Camara concluded “In the circumstances, we
respectfully urged Your Worship to acquit and discharge Sait Matty Jaw
for the prosecution’s dismal failure to establish a prima facie case
against the accused person.”

The case was adjourned to Wednesday, 15th April, 2015 for the
prosecution to make its submissions.