11 December 2018

Gambia: At the Court-Martial - Lance Corporal Sainey Camara Testifies in Two Soldiers Trial

Lance Corporal Sainey Camara, on Monday December 10th, testified before the Court-Martial on how the cautionary statements of the two accused persons were obtained.

Warrant Officer-1 Sulayman S. Badjie and Lance Corporal Lamin Kujabi of the Gambia Armed Force (GAF), were on Wednesday November 21st 2018, charged with incitement of mutiny, conspiracy to commit mutiny and endeavor to persuade members of GAF, to take part in mutiny.

Giving evidence before the panelist of the Court-Martial, the witness said on the 29th of March 2018, he was instructed to take the cautionary statements of the two accused persons; that it was the accused persons who made their own statements in the presence of an independent witness. He averred that the statements were signed by the accused persons and the independent witness, and were endorsed by him. The statements were tendered and marked as exhibits.

Before the witness gave his testimony, Counsel O. Suso from the National Agency for Legal Aid (NALA), made an objection that the witness should not be allowed by the Court to give his testimony. Suso said the Court-Martial is a superior Court with a jurisdiction as that of the High Court; that the witness' name is not in the list of witnesses. He said as provided by Section 175 B of the Criminal Procedure Code, the defense should have been served the summary of the evidence of the witness.

"We have just been served with additional list of witnesses in which his name (the witness), is indicated but his summary of evidence is not attached," said Counsel Suso. He argued that serving a list of additional witness without the summary of evidence being attached, is a violation of Section 24 (3) of the Constitution. He urged the Court not to allow the witness to testify, because the prosecution has failed to follow the laws.

Counsel AN Yusuf in his counter argument said, the prosecution has complied with the provisions of Section 175 B of the CPC. He relied on Section 111 (2) of the GAF Regulation Act which states that the witness can still testify, despite the summary of evidence not being attached to the additional list of witnesses. Counsel Yusuf said the CPC is a general application of the criminal procedure code whilst the GAF Regulations is specific to the Court-Martial.

In his reply on points of law, Lawyer O. Suso said the issue of services within a reasonable time, is to ensure fair hearing. He said Section 111 (2) of the Regulations cannot prevail over the provision of Section 24 (3) of the Constitution. The Court overruled the objection and allowed the witness to testify.

The matter was adjourned to Monday, 17th of December 2018, at 10:30.

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