Feb 11, 2013, 10:48 AM
Justice Emmanuel Amadi yesterday ordered a 'trial within a trial' in the matter of the cautionary statement obtained by police from the first accused person, ex-IGP Ensa Badjie.
Ensa Badjie arraigned under a 51-count indictment is standing trial with two former senior military officers, Lt. Colonel Mam Matarr Secka and Major Kuluteh Manneh.
The judge's decision follows the objection made by defence counsel BS Touray to the tendering of the cautionary statement as an exhibit.
BS Touray who is representing Ensa Badjie objected on the grounds that, the cautionary statement was not made voluntarily.
Meanwhile, the fourth prosecution witness, Inspector Ballo K. Jobe, testified on Monday that he is a police officer attached to the Fraud and Commercial Unit at police headquarters. He said he recognised all the accused persons, and could recall what happened on 7th March 2010.
According to PW4, on 7th March 2010, he was at the NIA as a panel member when he obtained voluntary and cautionary statements from the 1st accused, Ensa Badjie, in the presence of an independent witness.
"I read the cautionary wording to the 1st accused in English. I gave him the form to write his statement, but he told me to write it for him while he dictated to me," PW4 added.
"The 1st accused signed, the independent witness signed and I also endorsed it," Inspector Jobe told the court.
At this stage, the state prosecutor, M Abdullahi, applied to tender the said statement as an exhibit, but defence counsel representing Ensa Badjie raised an objection on the grounds that that the statement was not voluntarily made.
Defence counsel then urged the court to make an order for a voire dire (trial within trial), as the statement was not voluntarily made.
In response, state prosecutor Abdullahi cited Section 33 of the Evidence Act to buttress his submission, and urged the court to admit the said statement as an exhibit.
Defence Counsel BS Touray, in replying on a point of law argued that the court could not rely on the cited section by the prosecutor, while further citing Section 31(2) of the Evidence Act.
"The statement can only be admissible when it is voluntarily made," BS Touray added.
Justice Emmanuel Amadi then adjourned the case to Friday 13th March 2010 for the start of a voire dire (trial within trial).
The ex-Inspector General of Police and the two senior military officers were indicted by state prosecutors, and subsequently arraigned at the high court in Banjul on several charges. The charges include conspiracy to commit felony, obtaining money by false pretence, economic crime, obtaining goods by false pretence, official corruption, sedition, and abuse of office, among others.