Prosecution witness: ‘Accused did not offend the law’

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Abdoulie Bojang, a police officer and the second prosecution witness in the case involving Babucarr Njie, a soldier who was found with a pistol at the King Fahd Mosque, on 8 May 2017, told the Banjul Magistrates’ Court before Magistrate Janneh-Njie that the accused did not offend the law by going to the King Fahd Mosque.

He was answering questions under cross-examination when the defence counsel, Sheriff Kumba Jobe, put it to him that it was the right of everybody to be around the King Fahd Mosque, including the accused, and by virtue of this right, the accused did not offend the law by being around the mosque.

When the case was called, Sub-Inspector Bojang represented the IGP while Sheriff Kumba Jobe represented the accused.

Prosecutor Bojang informed the court that the first prosecution witness in the main case, Jally Senghore, had travelled and was expected to be back soon, adding that he would interpose him and call another witness.

The second witness, Abdoulie Bojang, said he is a police officer and lives at the police headquarters attached at PIU.

He said that on 10 February 2017, he was on crowd controlling at the King Fahd Mosque in Banjul as a supervising officer, adding that he recognised the accused at the King Fahd Mosque.

He adduced that while he was at the King Fahd Mosque on 10 February 2017, he was patrolling at the main gate and two of his assistants were standing beside him, adding that the accused wanted to enter between him and the ECOMIG soldier.

He posited that the ECOMIG soldier asked where he was going and asked him to open his bag.

He, the witness, also asked the accused in wollof to open his bag, adding that when the accused opened his bag, they found a rifle in the bag.

He further adduced that the ECOMIG soldier held the left hand of the accused and he held his right hand and took him inside the mosque.

He testified that on their arrival, he asked the accused his name and he told him he is Abdoulie Njie.

He said he asked the accused where he came from and he told him he is a soldier, adding that he found a pistol in the bag, and did not confirm if the pistol was loaded.

He stated that the bag was a red travelling bag.

The said bag was shown to him to identify, which he did.

The prosecutor applied to tender the bag and the defence did not raise any objection.

The said bag was admitted by the court.

The witness said that he was invited at the Major Crime Unit and asked to record his statement.

Under cross-examination, he posited that he has been a police officer for 21 years, adding that his mandate at the King Fahd Mosque was crowd controlling.

He said he was there to ensure that there was free movement of people, adding that he would let people to enter the mosque if they did not disobey the law.

He testified that he had never seen the accused before the 10 February 2017, adding that he left his statement at the Major Crime Unit.

At this juncture, the defence counsel applied for the statement of the witness to be provided to the court to enable the defence to prepare themselves.

He said they had served the prosecution to produce all the necessary documents relating to the case, adding that unless they were provided with the documents, failure which would prejudice their case.

He urged the court to order the prosecutor to provide them with the documents.

Magistrate Janneh-Njie then ordered the prosecutor to provide the defence counsel with the said documents.

The statement of the witness was then given to the defence counsel, who later tendered it.

It was admitted by the court after the witness had identified it.

Continuing the cross-examination, the defence counsel put it to the witness that in the statement he made at the Major Crime Unit he stated that he and his discipline officer arrested the accused and handed him to the ECOMIG soldier.

But in his evidence-in-chief, he said he and the ECOMIG soldier arrested the accused and took him to their base.

He was then asked how could he explain the contradiction.

In response, he stated that what he said in the statement was what was correct.

He added that the accused was arrested between 1:30pm and 2:30pm.

The case was adjourned until 22 May 2017.

Author: Dawda Faye