24 December 2012

Gambia: Judgment Set in Ex Police, Military Officials Case

Justice Emmanuel Nkea of the Special Criminal Court had set 21 January 2013 as the date to deliver judgment in the case involving ex-police chief Ensa Badjie, Lt. Col Mam Matarr Secka and Major Kuluteh Manneh.

This followed the address made by the defence counsel and the reply by the Director of Public Prosecutions during Friday's proceedings in the case at the Special Criminal Court in Banjul.

In his address, defence counsel B.S. Touray submitted, among others, that the prosecution had failed to prove the charges against the accused persons, as required by the law, and urged the court to acquit and discharge them.

He further submitted that there was no evidence before the court, to rely on, that the accused persons had ever uttered a seditious word involving anybody.

There was also nothing in the cautionary statements which the court could rely on to indicate that the accused persons had committed the said offence, adding that there was a clear denial from the accused persons.

Counsel Touray also stated that it was clearly stipulated in exhibit 14 about the removal of the accused person from Mile 2 Prison, and that the only reason that could be given was that, during the course of the investigation, the accused persons were subjected to all forms of torture.

He added that the 1st accused in the mini-trial stated that the 3rd accused told him that he could not write his own statement, arguing that even the said cautionary statements were not confessions, and no weight should be attached to them.

Counsel Touray also told the court that the evidence of Sillaba Samateh, PW1, should be expunged from the records, on the grounds that he had fled the jurisdiction, and his testimony was never tested by way of cross-examination.

Also addressing the court was lawyer L.K. Mboge, who told the court that, among others, his client was innocent of all the counts preferred against him, because there was no evidence against him.

He submitted that his client had since denied all the charges, and that the prosecution had failed to adduced evidence that the 3rd accused did what they alleged him of doing.

"Where is evidence in this case," counsel asked? He also pointed out that his client was never given the chance to cross-examine Sillaba Samateh (PW1).

Counsel Mboge added that the root of the case was Sillaba Samateh, and urged the court to acquit and discharge the accused persons.

In response, the Director of Public Prosecutions, S.H. Barkun, said the prosecution had proven his case beyond all reasonable doubts, and that they are relying on the evidence of PW1, Sillaba Samateh, and all other witnesses.

He said the counsel of the 1st accused had substantially cross-examined PW1, and urged the court not to expunge the evidence of PW1, and to attach weight to it.

The DPP also referred the court to the statements of the accused persons, which he called confessional statements, and stated that the court was bound to work on its evidential value.

He urged the court to convict the accused persons.

The case was then adjourned till 21 January 2013, for judgment.

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