Fifth prosecution witness testifies in soldier’s trial

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Famara Kambi, the fifth prosecution witness in the case involving Babucarr Njie, a soldier found with a gun at King Fahd Mosque in Banjul, testified on 19 June 2017 before Magistrate Janneh-Njie of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court.

He told the court that he lives at Bakau and he is a police officer attached to Major Crime Unit, adding that he recognised the accused at his office.

He testified that on 10 February 2017, he was on duty in Banjul, adding that the accused was brought to their office together with a bag containing a pistol.

Mr Kambi adduced that the accused was alleged to have been in possession of a bag containing a gun when the president was at King Fahd.

He added that the accused was cautioned and charged for being armed in public, adding that the case file was sent for prosecution of the accused.

Mr Kambi further stated that he was investigating the matter as to whether the accused was armed at King Fahd Mosque.

He posited further that the accused admitted to being in possession of the gun, adding that he prepared a report.

He said he would be able to recognise the report because it bore his signature.

The report was then given to him, and he identified it.

Sub-Inspector Bojang applied to tender the said report but the defence counsel, Sheriff Kumba Jobe, raised an objection.

He argued that the report contained witness statements of which some of the witnesses had never been called to testify.

Counsel Jobe submitted that if the statements were admitted, it would amount to hearsay which is prohibited to be admitted in evidence, citing the Evidence Act.

He further argued that witness of whose statement contained in the report could not be admitted in evidence through the witness.

He said it lacked the necessary prerequisite to admit witness statement that the witness in the dock was not the author, adding that the court could not admit the report in evidence.

Counsel Jobe adduced that to make matters worse, the cautionary and voluntary statements of the accused which were rejected were contained in the report.

He added that under no circumstances should a document which had been rejected earlier be brought to court.

He further argued that the entire report was a hearsay which could not be admitted. He urged the court to reject the report sought to be tendered by the prosecution.

In response, Sub-Inspector Bojang said that the witness was the investigating officer in the matter and the witness said that he prepared the report, adding that hearsay statements are admissible in court.

He argued that the statements obtained from the ECOMIG soldiers had already left the country, and this was why they could not be brought to court.

He urged the court to dismiss the objection raised by the defence.

Magistrate Janneh-Njie ruled that the report would be admitted and its weight would be determined by the court.

Under cross-examination, the witness was reminded that he stated that he singled handedly prepared the report, and he answered in the positive.

The word ‘Gendarmerie’ was in the report he prepared but when he was asked by the defence counsel to spell it out, he could not.

Instead of Helman, he said the name of the gun is Haiwal.

Mr Kambi stated that he did not know the person who arrested the accused, adding that the report was prepared on 23rd but could not remember the month and the year.

He testified that he could not remember how long it took him to prepare the report.

He adduced that two of them prepared the report namely Jally Senghore and himself.

It was put to him that Jally Senghore had told the court in his evidence that he (Jally) was not part of the investigating team.

The witness was asked whether he would not be surprised. He said he would be surprised.

The case was adjourned until 22 and 28 June 2017

Author: Dawda Faye