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Court to rule on torture allegation by Ensa Badjie as defence closes case in voire dire

Jun 8, 2011, 1:37 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

The allegation of torture to obtain his cautionary statement at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) made by former police chief Ensa Badjie will soon be cleared when the trial judge delivers his ruling. This will be followed by the oral address to be made by both sides in the trial within a trial.

It would be recalled that Ensa Badjie during one of the court sittings claimed that he was seriously tortured by officers of the NIA during the course of obtaining his statements.

The allegations prompted the trial judge Justice Amadi to suspend the main trial, and ordered for a voire dire (mini trial) in order to ascertain whether or not the former police chief was in fact tortured.

Badjie is facing trial under 51-count indictment alongside two top military officers, namely Major Kuluteh Manneh, former commander of the military police, and Lt Colonel Mam Matarr Secka, former head of the military police.

They were arraigned at the High Court on charges including conspiracy to commit felony, obtaining money by false pretence, economic crime, obtaining goods by false pretence, official corruption, sedition, abuse of office, among others, and have all denied the charges.

Lawyer Borry BS Touray, representing Ensa Badjie, yesterday told the court that the defence has closed it case following the testimony of Ensa Badjie and Major Kuluteh Manneh in the voire dire.

The prosecution had earlier closed their case in the mini trial, following the testimonies of Babucarr Khan, an independent witness, who said he was present when the ex-police chief’s statements were being obtained, and Salieu Gomez, a police officer, who obtained the cautionary statements of the accused person.

“We wish to announce the closure of our defence in the ‘voire dire’ trial, and we will be addressing the court,” defence counsel Touray told the court.

Justice Amadi then ordered both parties to address the court orally, before he could set a date for his ruling on the mini trial. He set 9th June 2011 as the date for address.

Ebrima Jaiteh, state counsel, held brief for the Director of Public Prosecutions M. Abdullahi.

The former security officers were brought to court in handcuffs and amidst tight security.