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D5M Basse Sub-Treasury Theft Case Trial Opens

Jan 19, 2009, 5:50 AM | Article By: Modou Sanyang

The trial of Sukuta Makalo who was alleged to have stolen D5M while on posting at the Basse Sub-treasury as clerk, commenced on 16thJanuary 2009 at the Banjul High Court before Justice Joseph Wowo.

Testifying, Karaba Touray told the court that he is the Director of Audit and is responsible for government financial statement of the local government.

However defence counsel Borry Touray rose to inform the court that he was not served with the witness statement of PW1. He said what was served to the defence was three lines of summary of evidence of PW1, adding that those three lines should be an extract from the statement of PW1. He added that the trial at the high court as opposed to the Magistrates' Court was that the summary of evidence, list of witnesses, witness statement and exhibits that the prosecution intends to rely on should all be attached to the indictment.

Lawyer Borry Touray further submitted that the significance of attaching witness statements was to afford an opportunity in advance to enable the accused know the evidence to be adduced before trial for the purpose of cross-examination. He said it also assists the defence to know whether the particular witness is giving consistent testimony, and it also gives an opportunity to compare the witness evidence in-chief and the statements he has already made. He said if there is inconsistency in the witness evidence he may be confronted with his statement to test its veracity. He added that these are weapons for the defence and it may also help the prosecution if they want to treat a witness as a hostile witness. He submitted that under the Constitution the accused should be given adequate opportunity to have a fair trial.

The case was adjourned to 26thJanuary 2009.