Court admits hard drive containing UDP detainees as Exhibit

Friday, January 26, 2018

Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara on Wednesday admitted a hard drive that is said to contain recordings of the United Democratic Party (UDP) members who were detained at Gambia’s defunct National Intelligence Agency (NIA) headquarters in Banjul.

The Banjul high court judge made the admission in a ruling following the prosecution counsel Lamin S. Camara’s application at the end of watching the video recording amidst objection raised by defence.

The viewing of the video recording in the hard drive (ID.1) took three days and after watching lawyer L.S Camara applied for the document (hard drive) to be admitted in evidence as exhibit.

Defence counsel I. Jallow objected to the admissibility of the document (ID. 1) as an exhibit, noting that the document is not relevant.

He argued that the video showed in the document does not, in any way relate to any of the counts preferred against the accused persons.

In his response, lawyer L.S Camara submitted that the document is relevant to the determination of counts 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,21,22,23,24 and 25 of the indictment.

He further submitted that for the court to determine the relevance of the document, Section 3 of the Evidence Act only requires that the document be tendered. He argued that it is the court’s responsibility to determine the relevance of the document and not the counsel.

Lawyer Camara informed the court that all the portions of the document were opened and it is evident that the recording was done at the NIA headquarters in Banjul by PW8, Assan Badjie who told the court in his evidence-in-chief that the hard drive contains the video recording of UDP demonstrators.

Defence counsel Ibrahim Jallow submitted that Section 3 of the Evidence Act set out conditions in admitting such documents and urged the court to look at the conditions and upheld the objection raised by the defence.

In her ruling, Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara said the court openly watched the document sought to be tendered by the prosecution (ID. 1) and considers it sufficiently relevant to the case.

She pointed out that the court will not dwell into the counts at this stage and the document ID. 1 was admitted in evidence and marked as Exhibit 1.

In the case, Yankuba Badjie, Louie Richard Leese Gomez, Saihou Omar Jeng, Babucarr Sallah, Yusupha Jammeh, Haruna Susso, Tamba Mansary, Lamin Darboe and Lamin Lang Sanyang are charged with 26 counts including conspiracy to murder, murder, assault causing grievous bodily harm, abduction and making false documents without proper authority amongst others.

Author: Bruce Asemota