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Court upholds defence objection, in Lang, Fofana treason trial

Dec 22, 2010, 10:57 AM | Article By: Malamin Conteh

An ex parte application dated 13th December 2010 filed by the state prosecutor, Daniel O Kulo, in the treason trial of former chief of defence staff Lang Tombong Tamba and rear admiral Sarjo Fofana, for the court to warrant a witness, Bunja Darboe, to appear in court and give evidence, was yesterday overruled by Justice Ikpala of the Special Criminal Court in Banjul.

It would be recalled that DSL Kulo on 13th December 2010 filed an ex parte application asking the court to issue a warrant for Bunja Darboe to appear in court, and give evidence in the treason trial.

Bunja Darboe when he appeared told the court: “My lord, I have made it very clear to this court that I will not enter the witness box, because I am a convicted prisoner serving life sentenced at the State Central Prison at Mile 2, and I will not swear or affirm.”

Justice Ikpala in delivering his ruling stated that Bunja Darboe was called as a witness pursuant to a witness sermon issued by the court.

He added that when the witness was brought, he said he would not enter the witness box nor swear, because he is a convicted prisoner serving a life sentence.

The prosecution further applied for the witness to give evidence without taking an oath, which the defence objected to, the judge continued.

It is the law, he added, that all oral evidence can be upheld, and cited the criminal procedure code as very relevant.

However, Justice Ikpala reminded the court that Bunja Darboe said he would not give evidence since he is serving a life sentence.

Subsequently, the judge discharged Bunja Darboe as a witness, and adjourned the case till 13 January 2011 for continuation. 

Tamba and Fofana are being tried on charges of treason, conspiracy to commit treason, concealment of treason and treason in connection with the 21st March 2006 abortive coup attempt allegedly masterminded by Colonel Ndure Cham, also a former chief of defence staff.