By Kebba Jeffang
Lawyer Modou Drammeh, the counsel of Sheikh Cham, who alleged being tortured by personnel of the Drug Law Enforcement Agency (DLEA), asked the prosecution witness whether they as narcotic officers do violate everyone’s right to privacy upon the suspicion that the person deals with drugs. The third prosecution witness (PW3) however responded in the negative.
Basiru Mboge, DLEA operative, gave this response during cross examination by the defence Monday, 28 September, in the ‘Obstruction’ trial of Sheikh Cham before Magistrate Kijera of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court.
The prosecuting officer was M. Jallow.
Lawyer Drammeh further asked PW3 whether they (narcotic officers) were given any description of the said drug peddler before leaving the station. The narcotic officer responded in the negative, adding that the information they got is to lay an ambush at a meeting point (ghetto) called Obama. He adduced that the description of the drug peddler was not given to them.
“So you were to just arrest anybody you saw around the Obama strasser?” asked counsel. The witness answered that they stopped people they suspect.
“Why don’t you come with the person who gave you the tip of the information?” counsel further asked.
The DLEA prosecutor objected to this question, arguing that it is meant to reveal the identity of the informant which he said is not constitutional.
However, the presiding magistrate over ruled the objection, adding that the question is important and should be asked.
The witness however responded that they did not know the informant and do not usually go with the informant on their missions.
“As a law officer, suspected drug peddlers of up to 5 bundles, do they usually carry a bag or a container because 5 bundles is huge to carry on a hand?” asked counsel. “Yes,” replied the witness.
Counsel asked, “And was the accused person with a bag?” The witness answered, “No.”
Counsel added, “So you violate everyone’s privacy?” The witness answered “We search those we suspected,”
Counsel remarked, “You made an ambush for 30 minutes?” The witness answered, “Yes.”
Counsel asked, “How many people passed that junction within those 30 minutes?” The witness answered, “I can’t estimate that.”
“How did the accused frustrate your mission?” asked counsel. The witness said the accused person was politely intercepted but he refused to be searched.
Counsel asked, “When you intercepted the accused did you suspect that he was the prime suspect?” The witness answered, “No I don’t know the prime suspect.”
“Before you left the station, did your Station Officer (S.O) tell you what kind of person you are going to arrest?” asked counsel. “Not in all situations,” the narcotic officer responded.
At this stage, the matter was adjourned to 14th October, 2015.
By Kebba Jeffang