Nov 11, 2011, 12:57 PM
The embattled former Inspector General of Police, Ensa Badjie, yesterday pleaded not guilty to a 22-count charge filed against him before the Special Criminal Court of the High Court in Banjul. He was arraigned alongside three prison officers.
The ex-police chief, Ensa Badjie, is facing 12 counts out of the 22, ranging from conspiracy to commit felony, receiving stolen properties, aiding and abetting, conspiracy to commit misdemeanour, to official corruption, among others.
Meanwhile, the 2nd accused person, Chief Superintendent Ali Ceesay, a prison officer, faces a three-count charge of deceiving witness, conspiracy to defeat justice, and offence relating to judicial proceeding. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The third and fourth accused persons, Kemenseng Colley and Ismaila Colley, both prison officers, face the rest of the counts, which range from criminal charms, conspiracy to defeat justice and interference with witnesses, offences relating to judicial proceeding, conspiracy to commit misdemeanour, common assault, to intimidation, among others.
Both accused persons also pleaded not guilty to all counts except count 20 of the charges, for common assault.
Following their plea of guilt to a charge of common assault, the trial judge, Justice Joseph Ikpala, cautioned and discharged the third and fourth accused persons, respectively in relation to that count.
In delivering the judgment, Justice Ikpala stated, "I have listened to the plea of mitigation of the accused persons, and that the offence committed is misdemeanour." Justice Ikpala then warned them to desist from such act, as they are public officers.
In their plea of mitigation, Kemesseng Colley begged the judge to temper justice with mercy, stating that it was not his intention, adding that he has two wives with several children. He told the court that he has served the prisons service for 12 years, and has never committed an offence, not to speak of stepping in a police station.
The 4th accused person, Ismaila Colley, also begged the judge to be lenient with him, stating that he was instructed by his boss to commit the act, adding that he has served the prisons for 16 years. He said he is the breadwinner of his family, since the death of his father in 1996.
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Richard Chenge, said the accused persons have no criminal record.
When the case was called for mention in the morning, the DPP applied to the court to strike out the name of the 4th accused person, Omar Jahateh. Chenge said the 4th accused has fled the country, and asked for his dismissal from the Gambia Police Force. He stated that the prosecution has also filed amended information against the accused persons.
Justice Ikpala granted his application and, subsequently, Omar Jahateh?s name was struck out. Count 13 was also struck out, since it affected the said Omar Jahateh.
DPP Chenge also applied to tender the cautionary and voluntary statements of the 3rd accused person, which were marked as exhibits without any objections. The voluntary statement of 4th accused was also tendered in court as an exhibit.
The particulars of the offence on count 20, for which the 3rd and 4th accused persons were convicted, reads: Kemenseng Colley and Ismaila Colley on 14th May 2010, at Mile Two Central Prison, being prison officers unlawfully assaulted Soriba Condeh, a convict.
Lawyer E Ozoma held brief for defence counsel BS Touray, representing former IGP Ensa Badjie.
The accused persons were remanded in custody pending the hearing of the case, following an application made by the chief state prosecutor, Richard Chenge.
The case was adjourned to 3rd June 2010.