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Hand-Writing Expert Testifies In Court

Sep 30, 2009, 6:50 AM | Article By: Alieu Jabang

One Mr. Omar W. Joof, a hand writing expert recently testified in the ongoing criminal trial involving one Mr. Alieu BM John, on an allegation of fraud and forgery before Principal Magistrate IK Palla of the Kanifing Magistrates' Court.

In his testimony, the prosecution's third witness told the court that he voluntarily obtained the signatures of both the complainant and the accused. He said he did so because of the demand made by the police with a view to compare the specimens against the documents in question, and to also determine the common authorship or otherwise.

He also said that there were five documents which are being identified as A, B, C, D, E and F, for identification purpose, after which he returned the documents back to the police.

Still testifying, PW3 told the court that he was authorised by the O/C Fraud Department of the Gambia Police Force, to make those identifications and get back the documents from the police.

When asked by the Prosecutor whether he can identify the documents marked as A to E, he answered in the affirmative. He was shown the documents which he confirmed as the very one. The Prosecutor in trying to tender the said documents as exhibits was objected by Defence Counsel Edrissa Sussoho on the grounds that "there was no proper foundation laid for the admission of the documents".

"We don't know on what circumstances they were obtained. The documents were helpfully labelled by the witness A to E for identification and some of them are photocopies. The documents were not properly identified by the witness. I urged the court to reject them because they are not relevance," he said, citing Section 101 of the Evidence Act 1994.

Responding to the objections made by the defence, Prosecutor ASP Bojang said "We cannot go into the context of the documents unless and until it is admitted as an exhibit".

He said the witness has already identified those documents and referred them to as A to E.

"The accused was the author of all the five question documents to be precise," he stated.

The case was at length adjourned to 8th October 2009 for ruling.