11 December 2012

Gambia: Awa Sanyang Confessed Killing Isatou Bojang With Iron

Inspector Lamin Colley, a CID officer attached to the Brusubi Police Station, yesterday told the Special criminal Court, presided over by Justice Emmanuel Nkea in Banjul that Awa Sanynag confessed to the investigative officers that she killed the deceased Isatou Bojang, her house mate in Brusubi, Kombo North District of the West Coast Region.

The police inspector's comment was contained in his evidence-in-chief, while serving as first prosecution witness (PW1) in the single count charge of murder, pressed against the accused, Awa Sanyang for killing her house mate Isatou Bojang some time in September 2012, in Brusubi.

However, she denied the charges, hence the litigation with the Legal Aid counsel representing her in the trial.

The police inspector informed the court about the findings of the investigations conducted on the murder case, following a report made at the Brusubi Police Station by the accused person herself. These include the cautionary and voluntary statements obtained from the accused, a visit to the scene of the crime, items found with blood stains including an iron, baton, clothes, and those found stained on the walls of the house alleged to have been occupied by the accused person, as well astheconfirmation made by one of the three children about seeing the accused fighting with the deceased.

Inspector Colley recalled a day he received a call from one of the officers at the Brusubi Police Station informing him about a murder case reported by the accused person. He said upon his arrival at the station, he went through the station diary and found the report in connection to the said murder case, which prompted him to call the accused person to report back to the station for further investigation into the matter.

According to the witness, when the accused returned to the office, she was interrogated, cautionary statement was obtained from her in the presence of an independent witness called Gabriel Darboe and the accused alleged that one individual called Hammed came to their house in the early morning between 2am and 3am and killed the deceased.

"As an experienced police officer, I was not convinced with the statement of the accused. After obtaining the first cautionary statement from her, a team of investigators went with her to the scene of the murder and we discovered that she and the deceased lived in the same house with three children. The house has two bedrooms with a parlour and a toilet. The accused occupied the first room, while the deceased occupied the second room. Investigations led us to the room of the accused where we discovered an iron and baton stained with blood. We also found some clothes and walls of the room stained with blood. One of the three children said he saw the accused fighting with the deceased in the said room," the police inspector explained to the court.

According to him, despite allegations made by the accused that one Hammed was responsible for the death of the deceased, he personally went through the whole house, but had not seen any sign of break through on the windows and doors of the house, and that there was sign of force or break on any part of the house, contrary to the allegations of the accused person.

He said the accused was later taken back to the police station for further interrogation, where she confessed to have committed the said crime.

The witness added that second cautionary statement was obtained from the accused in the presence of an independent witness and the accused accepted the statement as the truth with her signature, the independent witness signed and he (Colley) also signed as the officer who recorded it.

However, the first cautionary statement was admitted and marked as exhibit A, but the Legal Aid counsel objected to tendering of the second one, on grounds of involuntariness, saying it was obtained through torture and force.

This development led to conduct of a voire dire to determine the involuntariness of the statement with the said witness having to adduce evidence relating to the obtainment of the said cautionary statement.

Under voire dire evidence, the witness maintained no force or torture was used on the accused as alleged by the Legal Aid counsel. According to him, he has been in the police force for about 18 years, but that he has never beaten anybody, and that he was not aware of any officer beating the accused while in their custody for investigation.

The witness insisted that the accused gave the statement voluntarily without any force used on her, contrary to the allegation of the defence counsel.

The case was adjourned to December 19th, 2012 for continuation of the voire dire.

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