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Court to rule on voire-dire in Briton murder case

Jun 13, 2012, 1:38 PM | Article By: Malamin Conteh

Justice Emmanuel Nkea of the Special Criminal Court is today expected to deliver a ruling in the voire-dire, otherwise called mini-trial, conducted by the court to ascertain the allegations made by the accused persons that they were subjected to brutal torture at the time of obtaining their statements at the Major Crime Unit.

Michael Ifunaya Churwbiken, Stanley Agbaze Ugochuku and Collins Chijoke, were alleged to have with malice aforethought, caused the death of one Ian Stokes, a British national, by stabbing him repeatedly on the neck, abdomen and left arm, on 13 May 2012, at Bakoteh Junction Bar.

This was after the testimony of Stanley, another accused person and defence witness two (DW2) in the voire-dire trial, who told the Special Criminal Court that he used to live in Bakau and sell second-hand clothes.

He testified that he was arrested at Barra, and the arresting officer started to beat him, and was later taken to Banjul Police Station.

Stanley elucidated that on 15 April 2012, a written statement was shown to him only for him to append his signature on it, but he refused, as he did not know the contents of the statement.

He denied giving any statement to the police.

Testifying further, Stanley said: “I did not give any statement to the police in this matter. I did not even know the white man they were asking me about. It was not true that I killed a white man. I have no knowledge about the alleged fuel found in the vehicle of the white man.”

He further said: “I was subjected to brutal torture in order for me to sign this statement, and at the time of the torture no independent witness was present. At the time of signing the statement, there was no independent witness present.”

He adduced that the police told him they, the police, had done with the investigation into the case, and all they wanted was for him to sign the statement, which he refused.

“I later signed it because of the torture inflicted on me,” he stated, adding that the statement was not voluntary.

The case continues today.