Investigating Police Officer (IPO), Detective Corporal Sheriff Barrow yesterday, 27th February, testified as the second prosecution witness (PW2) before Magistrate Momodou Jallow of the Banjul Magistrates' court in the ongoing alleged stealing of rice, conspiracy, store breaking among others levied against Lance Corporal Abdoulie Sanyang,
Privates Lamin Sanneh and Modou L Drammeh and a civilian, Daniel Balukan.
The second prosecution witness testified that he is attached to the major crime unit at the Police Headquarters in Banjul; adding that he recognized the accused persons in the dock and that on the 4th February, 2013 a case file with reference number 05/04/02/2013 emanated from the Banjul Police station to the Major Crime Unit together with five suspects. He said a vehicle with registration number BJL 6312 G loaded with 160 bags of rice weighing 30kg was brought for further investigation and which he was assigned as the IPO to look into the matter.
According to the witness, as IPO, he conducted further investigations in the matter.
When asked by Police prosecutor, Corporal Badjie as to whether the investigation was able to reveal facts into the case during the cause of investigations, the prosecution witness replied in the affirmative. The witness told the court that they were not convince that those were the only bags stolen from the store and the matter was therefore subjected to constant investigation and it was revealed through Daniel Balukan (4th accused) that on the 3rd of February, 2013, he was given 80 bags of rice from the store by one Bailo. He said their investigators could not trace Bailo but he (Balukan) confessed that the 80 bags were given to him by Lance Corporal Abdoulie Sanyang and Private Lamin Sanneh, the 1st and 2nd accused respectively.
The prosecution witness testified that Balukan was further asked where he sold the 80 bags of rice and he lead them to one Muktarr Taban and Liman Taban, who are businessmen, where the said bags were recovered. The witness added that Balukan further informed them that he was given another 10 bags of the same rice from the same store by the duo. He said the 4th accused lead them to the place of one man called Ahmed where the 10 bags were sold but that this Ahmed was nowhere to be found and therefore they couldn't recover the said bags of rice.
When asked about the 240 bags of rice, Detective Corporal Barrow told the court that the recovered rice is in the custody of the police at the Police headquarters, adding that 160 bags are still loaded on the vehicle.
At this juncture, the prosecutor applied for the court to move to the police headquarters where the said rice is kept because the loading and unloading work involved in bringing the bags of rice to the court may waste the time of the court. He appealled for the court to grant the application as prayed.
Counsel for Lance Corporal Sanyang, Emmanuel E Chime objected to the application, arguing that there are principles in visiting such places by the Court if the item to be exhibited is immovable or heavy. He said the Court must be treated with dignity, as the Court is asked to move rather than the rice being brought to the court. He said the rice is an exhibit and is neither fragile nor an exhibit of which risk might be involved.
He finally urged the court to refused the application and for the rice to be brought to the Court.
Replying on points of law, Corporal Badjie cited Section 80 of the Evidence Act 1994 and urged the court to rule in favour of the prosecution.
The case was adjourned to Monday 4th of March for ruling.