Defence opposed calling additional witness in NIA 9 trial

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Issued: Tuesday 27 March 2018




Bruce Asemota

Defence Counsel Emmanuel E. Chime representing Yankuba Badjie, the embattled former director general of the defunct National Intelligence Agency (NIA) now SIS yesterday declared that the prosecution calling one Seedy Saidybah as an additional witness is a trial by ambush.

Lawyer Chime made this submission before presiding Judge Kumba Sillah-Camara of the High Court in Banjul after the prosecution informed the court that it was calling Seedy Saidybah as the 14th prosecution witness.

Chime submitted that the prosecution filed their list of witnesses on the 10th of November, 2017, and on January 29, 2018, filed an additional list of witnesses and again the prosecution is filing an additional witness.

He argued that the notice of additional summary of evidence and witnesses filed on January 29, 2018, were more than two.

Chime further argued that the act of accepting more than one additional witness to the substantive witnesses is null and void.

He said the prosecution witnesses in the substantive list were itemized after investigations were concluded, adding that the plethora of witnesses being presently called by the prosecution is prejudicial to the defence particularly the 1st accused, Yankuba Badjie.

He informed the court that the notice of additional witness was served on him yesterday morning, adding that the defence has not been given adequate time and facility to prepare for their defence.

Chime submitted that the defence was served with the notice of additional witness yesterday and that same yesterday, the additional witness was asked to go into the witness box to give evidence.

Lawyer Chime referred the court to Section 234 of the Criminal Procedure Code and explained that the prosecution based their encampment on the said section.

Chime argued that Section 234 of the Criminal Procedure Code is very emphatic on the intention of the parliament, adding that the parliament did not approve the calling of additional witnesses under Section 234 of the CPC.

He urged the judge should work out a constructive task of the intention of the parliament.

He disclosed that even though the defence are taking solace that the presiding judge is an impartial judge sitting at The Gambia Court of Appeal the prosecution should not be allowed to base their encampment on Section 234 of the CPC.

He also referred the court to Section 24 (c) of the 1997 Constitution, adding that the charges the accused persons are charged with are capital offences.

Defence Counsel Chime argued that the defence is enshrouded in prevailing circumstances which he likened to a scenario that the goal post is being pushed and moved backwards to the disadvantaged of the defence.

He further argued that the additional witness sought to be called by the prosecution was mentioned by the last witness and that he is coming on board solely and primarily to remedy what the last witness failed to mend.

Chime submitted that several additional witnesses were brought by the prosecution before the court but the defence maintained a sealed lip.

Defence Counsel Chime cited some authority to buttress his objection to calling Seedy Saidybah as a witness.

Meanwhile, the matter continues today for defence Counsel Chime to continue his submission.

However, Lawyer L. S. Camara whilst re-examining the 13th prosecution witness, he asked the witness to clear the inconsistencies to the court surrounding his testimony in his evidence in chief and testimony during cross examination by defence counsel S. Fatty of the Legal Aid.

During the witness’s evidence in chief he told the court that the thing he saw is a human being and that he knew from the public that it was Solo Sandeng.

The witness during cross examination said since Solo Sandeng left he did not see him dead or alive.

The witness, Mbemba Camara in his reply said that as he had earlier mentioned, he didn’t see Solo Sandeng dead or alive until he heard from the public that it was Solo Sandeng.

It could be recalled that Yankuba Badjie, Louie Richard Leese Gomez, Sheihk Omar Jeng, Babucarr Sallah, Yusupha Jammeh, Haruna Susso, Tamba Mansary, Larmin Darboe and Lamin Lang Sanyang are charged with 26 counts including conspiracy to murder, murder, abduction, conspiracy to commit felony, assault causing grievous bodily harm, making false document without proper authority amongst others.