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Darboe challenges court to explain ‘authority used to recall witness’

Jun 21, 2016, 10:41 AM | Article By: Halimatou Ceesay

The leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP), Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, yesterday challenged the court to tell him what authority it used to recall a witness for cross-examination, after the latter had been discharged by the court.

Darboe made the request in the case involving him and nineteen others, before Justice E.O. Dada at the Banjul High Court.

Darboe also said he wanted the trial judge to tell him under which law, be it the Criminal Procedure Code or the Evidence Act that she based her discretion in recalling back a witness she discharged.

Darboe made this remark after the testimony of the sixth prosecution witness, Fatoumatta A. Bah.

After the testimony of the witness, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) S.H. Barkun applied for the witness to be discharged by the court without her being cross-examined, and the application was granted by the court.

After the DPP had called the seventh prosecution witness, who entered the witness box and was about to be sworn in, the trial judge asked him to step down and recalled PW6 Fatoumatta A. Bah.

PW6 then entered the witness box and the 1st accused, Ousainou Darboe, was asked to cross-examine her.

Darboe then said this witness had been discharged, and he did not know under what authority she was recalled for cross-examination.

The trial judge, however, proceeded to the other accused persons Kemeseng Jammeh, Yaya Bah, and Nfamara Kuyateh and asked them if they had any questions for the witness, but they all responded with silence.

The trial judge then said the reaction from the 1st accused, Darboe, was noted and overruled and, in the absence of any questions from the rest of the accused persons, the witness was, therefore, discharged again.

Testifying as the sixth prosecution witness, Sergeant Fatoumatta A. Bah attached to the Fraud Squad Unit at Police headquarters in Banjul, said she knew the accused persons.

She was assigned by her boss OC Fraud Squad to obtain statements from the 1st accused, Ousainou Darboe, 2nd accused, Kemeseng Jammeh, 6th accused, Yaya Bah and 14th accused, Nfamara Kuyateh alias “Balankang.”

“I first asked for their names. I read the cautionary wordings to them, then I asked them what happened. They explained and I recorded and then I signed with my name and rank. I read over to them what they narrated for their own understanding.”

She also said she recorded both cautionary and voluntary statements from them.

The statements were shown to her and she identified them, and the DPP applied to tender them in court.

The trial judge then asked the translator to show the documents to the accused persons. The 1st accused, Ousainou Darboe, was seated and did not look at the document, while remaining silent and the rest of the accused persons did the same.

“In the absence of any objection from the accused persons, the statements are hereby marked in evidence as exhibits,” said the trial judge.

However, Darboe protested that it was wrong for the judge to say in absence of any objection, because he did not react to the statement.

Testifying as the seventh Prosecution witness, Lamin Jammeh, a police officer attached to Fraud Squad Unit in Banjul, said he recorded the cautionary and voluntary statements of the 20th accused person, Masanneh Lalo Jawla at the NIA headquarters.

He narrated the same procedure in obtaining the statements. The statement was tendered in court and marked as an exhibit without the accused reacting to it. The accused was asked if he had any questions for the witness, but he remained silent.

The eighth prosecution witness, Omar K. Jammeh, also a police constable from Jambangjelly said he recorded the statements of the 18th accused, Momodou L.K Sanneh and the 19th accused person, Yaya Jammeh.

He also narrated the same procedure. The accused persons did not react to the statements, and they were tendered in evidence as exhibits. They also remained silent when asked by the court if they had any questions for the witness.

The ninth prosecution witness (PW9), Dodou Joof, in his testimony, said he is a first-class police officer from Mbollet ba.

He recorded the statements of Lang Dibba and Baboucarr Camara at the PIU in Kanifing.

He also took the court through the same process. The accused persons did not react to the statements, which were also tendered in court. They also remain silent when asked by the court if they had any questions for the witness.

The case continues today at 12 noon.