Prosecution responds to defence’s objection to allow witness use laptop for illustration

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Lawyer Yassin Senghore, the counsel for the prosecution in the criminal trial of Yankuba Badjie and six others in the alleged murder of Ebrima Solo Sandeng on Monday responded to the defence objection before Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara at the Banjul High Court.

It could be recalled that whilst the 25th prosecution witness; Sp Thomas R. J. Gomez’s testimony, he testified that he led a team of investigators to the SIS complex in Tanji where the late Ebrima Solo Sandeng was buried and he prepared a report which was tendered and admitted in evidence and marked as ‘Exhibit L’.

The defence raised objection after the prosecution applied that the witness used a laptop for a proper illustration of the said report.

In her responds to the defence objection, lawyer Senghore submitted that the defence misconceived the nature of the application and that the evidence of the witness was very clear.

Lawyer Yassin disclosed that the witness stated in his evidence that the report (Exhibit L) is in his computer which he wish to refer to.

 Lawyer Senghore argued that it is recognised under the law that one document can be in different form and be the same thing.

She referred the court to the definition of document under Section 2(1) of the Evidence Act and then to Section 98(4) of the said Evidence Act and submitted that ‘Exhibit L’ was processed which has an electronic version produced for the court.

She submitted that both electronic and the printed version are primary evidence under the provision of Section 98 of the Evidence Act.

Lawyer Senghore further submitted that there is nothing unusual for the witness to request that he uses the laptop for illustration and therefore urged the court to overrule defence objection.

In his reply on points of law, counsel for the 1st accused, C.E. Mene submitted that the submission of lawyer Senghore and all the authorities cited are misconceived.

Lawyer Mene argued that the issue before the court is whether the witness can be allowed to go into the content of an electronic document that is not before the court.

He submitted that the document that was produced and tendered is Exhibit L and no other version of Exhibit L has been produced and tendered before the court.

Lawyer Mene further submitted that different consideration applies for the admission into evidence for the document itself, noting that the provision of the law dealing with the two are not the same.

He cited Section 22 of the Evidence Act and argued that the court cannot allow the use of a version of a document that is not before the court and urged the court to discountenance the prosecution’s submission.

Lawyer Ibrahim Jallow, the counsel for Sheikh Omar Jeng informed the court that he wished to adapt the argument of lawyer C.E. Mene and submitted that the only document before the court is Exhibit L which was prepared by the witness.

Legal Aid Counsel, S. Fatty for Tamba Mansaray and Lamin Darboe and lawyer Dago Small Dayo for Lamin Lang Sanyang informed the court that he aligned with the submission of lawyer C. E. Mene.

In her ruling presiding judge, Kumba Sillah-Camara sustained the defence objection.

After the court ruling, prosecution’s counsel, Yassin Senghore asked the witness to go through Exhibit L but after going through Exhibit L, the witness informed the court that a page was missing in the said document (Exhibit L).

At this point, lawyer Y. Senghore applied for an adjournment and was granted and the matter was adjourned to today for continuation of examination in chief of 25th prosecution witness.

Hearing continues today.

Author: Bruce Asemota