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Ex IGP Badjie trial continues

Jul 15, 2010, 12:26 PM | Article By: Sainey MK Marenah

The criminal trial on a 15-count indictment of former Inspector General of Police, Ensa Badjie, and Chief Superintendent of Prison Ali Ceesay, continued yesterday at the Special Criminal Court in Banjul before Justice Ikpala.

The case continued with the cross-examination of PW4 by defence counsel Borry S Touray.

When asked by defence counsel whether he made a statement on 7th July 2010, the witness replied that, "if it's read to me I would be able to understand".

He admitted that that was the statement he made to the NIA, when it was read to him by BS Touray.

Defence counsel BS Touray then applied to tender the said statement made by the witness at the NIA as an exhibit.

The deputy DPP M. Abdullahi then rose and objected.

He said no proper foundation has been laid by the defence in applying to tender the said statement as an exhibit, and cited Section 201 of the Evidence Act to further buttress his objection.

BS Touary then applied to withdraw his application, in order to lay a proper foundation.

M. Abdullahi again argued that it was too late for the defence to withdraw the application, further submitting that the procedure adopted has made the inadmissibility of the statement incurably bad.

Since the defence counsel had conceded to the prosecution's objection, he therefore urged the court to reject the document.

Defence counsel BS Touray in reply submitted that the application to reject the witness statement was misconceived by the prosecution.

"What is before the court was only an application to tender the document, and the objection raised by the state on the basis that necessary foundation has not been laid."

Counsel further submitted that what the prosecution was doing bordered on technicalities, adding that the prosecution has not suffered any prejudices by his application to withdraw the document.

"Your lordship, I crave the indulgence of the court to do substantial justice," he finally submitted.

Justice Ikpala ruled in favour of the defence, and subsequently admitted the witness statement as defence exhibit 1.

Meanwhile, PW4 continuing to testify, said that while under detention PW1 (Condeh) used to have a telephone conversation with the 1st accused person, Ensa Badjie. When it was put to him by defence counsel that he did not mention that in his statement, PW4 told the court, "this is not my statement, and it does not bear my signature".

When it was further put to him that he was lying, as he just came into the case on 7th July 2010, the witness insisted that all what he was saying was the truth.

Quizzed further by the defence counsel, who asked: "who wrote your statement at the NIA?" PW4 replied, "I don't know the person".

"Am putting it to you that you were lying in court, when you said that PW1 was communicating to the 1st accused over the phone while under detention at the Serrekunda police station".

Darboe, in reply, said one Landing Bojang was a witness to that incident.

Asked, "when you went to Kanifing Magistrates' Court, did the 1st accused arrange legal representation for your group?" the witness said Ensa Badjie did not provide any lawyer.

"According to you, it was the 1st accused who told you to plead guilty at the court", quizzed counsel. "Yes", replied Darboe.

"When you were sentenced to seven years, you felt bitter about the 1st accused," defence counsel stated. "I did not feel bitter about the 1st accused", replied Darboe.

"If your allegations are true, you must feel angry", said BS Touray, but the witness denied this was the case.

He also denied that the 1st accused was the leader of the escorting team that took them from Serrekunda police station to the Kanifing Magistrates' Court, when this was put to him by counsel.

He again said it was the 1st accused that told all of them to plead guilty at the Serrekunda police station, and that the 1st accused promised them a lawyer.

Reminded by defence counsel that he told the court that it was Ensa Badjie who brought cannabis and alcohol to Condeh in the police cell, the witness replied that this is true, and happened in his presence.

When it was put to him that Condeh, when he testified as PW1, did not say that in court, during his evidence in chief, the witness added "he may not have said so, but I am narrating what I witnessed."

BS Touray further told the witness that he did not mentioned that in his statement made at the NIA, but Darboe insisted that he mentioned this at the NIA.

"I am putting it to you that you have never met the 1st accused in any of your criminal operations" defence counsel said. "It was because of that operation that I am in jail now," replied PW4.

Asked by defence counsel, who arrested PW1 when he escaped from custody, PW4 replied, "I was in prison. I did not know who arrested him".

"It is correct that you and PW1 were all kept at the same unit at Mile 2 Prison," stated counsel. But in response Darboe said, PW1 "was in confinement, while we are at the main yard".

"Who paid your money for your escape," asked defence counsel. "I did not know who paid the money, but the officer told us after the money was paid to him," replied the witness.

"What offence were you charged with," asked defence counsel. "Shopbreaking," replied PW4.

The witness was also re- examined by the Deputy DPP Mikailu Abdullahi.

Hearing continues today at 1 pm

It would be recalled that Ensa Badjie, former Inspector Inspector General of Police and Superintendent of Prison Ali Ceesay, were arraigned at the special criminal court, after being indicted on different counts, including conspiracy to commit a felony, robbery with violence, receiving stolen property, aiding and abetting, robbery, conspiracy to commit misdemeanour, aiding prisoner to escape, official corruption, conspiracy to defeat justice and interference with witnesses, deceiving witnesses, offences relating to judicial proceeding, and using criminal charms, among others.