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Defence to open in cocaine 9 voire dire trial

Oct 27, 2010, 3:29 PM | Article By: Malamin Conteh

The defence is expected to open it’s case in the voire dire trial involving the nine foreign nationals who are standing trial at the special narcotics court at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court for being found with one and half tonnes of cocaine reported to be worth one billion United States dollars.

This followed yesterday’s announcement by the state prosecutor that they have closed their case in the voire dire trial over the cautionary statement of the first accused, Mr. Gazi.

Concluding his testimony under cross-examination by defence counsel Lamin Camara, the prosecution’s independent witness, Bubacarr Khan, told the court that he got to know the first accused the day his statement was obtained.

When told by counsel L S Camara that: “In your evidence-in-chief, you told the court that Mr Gazi signed, and again you said: ‘I did not pay attention’, which among these statements is true?”

The witness remained silent.

At this juncture, the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, M. Abdullahi, announced the closure of the prosecution’s case in the voire dire.

The case was then adjourned till 28th October 2010 for the defence case to begin.

The accused persons are: Ephriam Micheal Chiduben, a Nigerian national, Juan Carlos Sanchez, Eric Bottini, Dose Fermin, Juan Carlos Diaz, and Esteaban Zavala all Venezuelan nationals, George Sanchez, a Mexican/Liberian national, as well as Rudy Rasoehamid Gazi and Dennis Wilgo Winter, both Dutch nationals.

They were allegedly found with two and half tonnes of cocaine, a prohibited drug, reportedly worth one billion US dollars at Bonto village in the Kombo East district of the West Coast Region.