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EX-Police Chief, OC prosecution trial continues

Apr 8, 2011, 1:45 PM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

The criminal trial involving ex-police chief Ensa Badjie and Tijan Badjie, Officer Commanding Prosecution Unit Banjul Division, yesterday continued at the Banjul Magistrates' Court before acting-Principal Magistrate Alagba.

The duo were earlier arraigned and charged with conspiracy to defeat justice, destroying evidence, abuse of office and deceiving witness.

Testifying under cross-examination, the second prosecution witness, Nfamara Gomez, told the court that he was among four security officers who investigated the accused persons.

He added that the panel comprised two narcotics officers and two police officers.

Asked by defence counsel L.K. Mboge whether he could mention the names of the other three officers who took part in the investigation, the Director of Public Prosecutions, M. Abdullahi, raised an objection, saying the witness cannot answer the question because of security reasons.

DPP further argued that the identities of the officers that conducted the investigation should not be disclosed in open court.

Responding to the DPP’s objection, the defence counsel told the court that the DPP's objection was misconceived, and did not cite any law to support his argument.

He added that, in cross-examination, the defence counsel can even ask the witness questions that are not related to the case, just to test the credibility, accuracy and veracity of the witness, that is, whether the witness was sure of what he or she was telling the court.

Lawyer Mboge added that the purpose of cross-examination is to discredit what the witness had said in court.

The trial magistrate ruled that these are security matters, and it would not be proper to disclose the identities of the officers that conducted the investigation.

Defence counsel further asked the witness whether it is correct that he told this court that he is a police officer for the past 25 years, and the witness said "that is true."

Counsel Mboge further asked the witness whether they invited Musa Suso and Burama Dibba, former Crime Management Co-ordinator, during their investigations, and the witness said he was not aware of that.

Counsel further asked the witness whether it was correct that he told the court that the second accused person had a problem with former police chief Benedict Jammeh, and the witness denied saying that.

The DPP then noted that the issue raised by the counsel concerning Burama Dibba, Musa Susso, and Benedict Jammeh was not relevant to the charges.

He cited the law to buttress his submission, saying that this particular section disallowed such questions to be admissible in court.

The question was subsequently disallowed by the court.

The case was then adjourned till 20 April 2011.