Nino Jatta, a suspect standing criminal trial before Justice Ebrima Jaiteh at
the High Court in Banjul last Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, opened his defence in a
trial within a trial to determine whether his cautionary and voluntary
statements were voluntarily obtained by the police.
The police claimed that the accused statements were obtained without duress or any force applied before the statements were obtained but gave his statements voluntarily.
The prosecution called two witnesses who testified to support their claim but the accused debunks the police claim, noting that his cautionary and voluntary statements were never obtained and that the police wrote a statement and he was forced to thumb print which he refused.
The accused alleged he was beaten with a long stick whilst his hands and legs were cuffed by one police officer called Camara and was detained for two weeks incommunicado.
The suspect further alleged that the first day he saw his relatives was the day he was taken to the hospital for treatment.
He alleged that he sustained injuries or wound on his head and hands and was never allowed to see his relatives and was always placed inside cells.
Responding to questions during cross examination, the suspect said he knows one Grace Jatta, his niece but was never present when his statements were obtained.
He said Grace Jatta was standing outside the police station and that she heard him screaming inside the police station.
At this junction, the presiding judge asked State Counsel Jarju whether it was the same Grace Jatta that the prosecution brought to the court as an independent witness but said she wasn’t going to testify that she knows nothing about the matter.
Defence Counsel Candia replied in the affirmative and the matter then adjourned to the 15 January 2018 for hearing.
The prosecution alleged that the suspect, Nino Jatta on or about 17 May, 2014, at Mandina Salam village in the Kombo South of West Coast Region had unlawful carnal knowledge of 18 year-old-girl (name withheld) without her consent.