“I removed myself from the WhatsApp chat group when the group was discovered” Corporal Sanneh

Monday, January 29, 2018

Corporal Jino Sanneh, the fifth prosecution witness in the ongoing criminal trial of 12 soldiers facing treasonable charges and others said he was not an administrator in WhatsApp group and that he removed himself from the group when it was discovered by authorities.

He was testifying whilst under cross-examination by Lawyer Sheriff Kumba Jobe on Friday Jan. 26, 2018, before the panellists of the general Court-Martial.

He testified that he removed himself from the group chat called “True Friends” when the group was discovered [by authorities] before his arrest.

“Why did you remove yourself from the group chat and deleted the messages (therein)” asked Lawyer Jobe.

“I don’t know” the witness said in response.

“You deleted yourself in an effort to cover up yourself” said Lawyer Jobe.

The witness responded in the negative.

“Can you remember who created the WhatsApp chat group” asked Lawyer Sheriff K. Jobe.

“Actually, I don’t know who created the WhatsApp group but I was added by Sergeant Yusupha Jatta” responded Corporal Sanneh.

The witness said he was added in the Month of July, 2017.

“Was there any force or duress used against you to join the group or you came voluntarily” asked Lawyer Jobe.

“I was invited” the witness responded.

He said he could not remember the number because he gave only one number to the investigators. Lawyer Jobe applied for the Court-Martial to have a view of his own statement that he gave to the investigators. After viewing, the witness identified it as his and that the information therein contained was his.

Lawyer Jobe still asked him whether he still maintained that that telephone was not his, the witness said he could not remember the number.

“Can you remember things that were discussed in the chat group or the content of the group” asked Lawyer Jobe.

“I can only remember things that were discussed during the meeting in my presence” he said.

 When asked whether he did report to the authorities about the activities that he had participated, then state counsel, Lawyer A.N. Yusuf objected to the admissibility of the question, referring to it as one that sought to incriminate the witness. The Court-Martial overruled the question and upheld the objection.

When asked why he was released, the witness said he did not know.

Lawyer Sheriff K. Jobe in his counter argument said in cross-examination that the cross-examiner is allowed to ask a leading question that is within the knowledge of the witness.

He added that the witness does not have to say something for him to be cross-examined on it. He also said the cross-examiner can ask questions that the witness has not mentioned. He said there is nothing in law that prevents the witness from answering leading questions and that the objection lacks merit.

The court held that the question is supposing that the witness has mentioned in court that there was a condition attached to his release.

The witness still in cross examination said the meeting he attended, it was only the 11th accused person present and that apart from the meeting he attended, he had never discussed treasonable issues with the accused persons. 

Author: Rose Zahra Gomez