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"I gave recovered cannabis to Ensa Badjie," witness tells court

Aug 2, 2010, 12:40 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

Dodou Janneh alias Dou Boy, the 9th prosecution witness in the robbery trial involving ex-police chief Ensa Badjie and CSP Ali Ceesay, has told the court that he gave recovered cannabis to Ensa Badjie.

PW9 continuing his testimony before Justice Ikpala of the Special Criminal Court in Banjul on Friday, testified that one day he arrested Ebrima Suma with cannabis, but through the intervention of the 1st accused (Ensa Badjie) he had to release him at around the Tipper Garage (near Bakoteh).

The court was also told that Ebrima Suma was arrested in connection with armed robbery by the task force team, and that, in the course of the investigation, Suma started naming his gang members.

He told the court that when he told Ensa Badjie that Soriba Condeh alias Ramsis was in town, the 1st accused responded that he was not referring to Soriba Condeh, but the criminal Ramsis, who is an ex military officer from Guinea.

The witness added that the 1st accused introduced Soriba Condeh to him as a Guinean businessman with many shops.

He added that he was also told by Ensa Badjie that the money he (PW9) helped him to count was given to him by Soriba Condeh, because they were having a transaction.

"When PW1 was arrested, the 1st accused used to give him money and buy alcohol for him to drink while in detention at the Serrekunda Police Station," he told the court.

At this juncture, defence counsel BS Touray told the court that the evidence being adduced by the witness was not relevant to the charges before the court, noting that the prosecution had the opportunity to brief their witnesses.

The witness, nevertheless, continued his testimony, stating that the cannabis he allegedly arrested on Ebrima was with him, and that Ebrima was in handcuffs.

He adduced that when the 1st accused asked him what happened, and he told him that he arrested the man with some cannabis, he (the 1st accused) advised him to unlock the handcuffs, and asked him to leave Suma alone, because he (Dodou Janneh) is not a drug squad officer. "Then I left, and left them there," he added.

Again BS Touray rose and told the court that the evidence the witness was giving was not related to any of the charges before the court, and urged the court make a ruling on his submission.

The charges are what will give the accused person, and his counsel knowledge of the case, counsel further submitted.

"The evidence that is not pleaded in any of the counts would prejudice the mind of the court," counsel Touray submitted.

He further told the court that they cannot receive evidence that was not disclosed in any of the charges, adding that these whole bundle of information is laid in court by the prosecution, and if the prosecution wanted to amend the charges that should have been done long ago.

He then urged the court to disregard that potion of the evidence from the proceedings, stating that his objection was based on the issue of cannabis.

The deputy DPP, Mikailu Abdullahi, in reply cited section 169 sub-section 1 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

"This section is supporting that a witness giving evidence may not be limited to evidence the accused is charge with before the court, provided that the said evidence is relevant in establishing an offence under the law," he added.

"The evidence of this witness touches on drugs (cannabis) which relates to an offence of abuse of office," DDPP submitted.

He also submitted that the 1st accused was the Officer Commanding CID at Kanifing Division, and the witness said after arresting Suma with cannabis the 1st accused intervened, and told him to release him. The Deputy DPP  noted that was abuse of office.

He urged the court not to allow the counsel's application, but to dismiss it.

After hearing from the prosecution and the defence counsel, the trial judge overruled the defence's application, and asked the witness to continue his testimony.

"I gave the recovered cannabis to the 1st accused when I left Ebrima Suma with the 1st accused," PW9 told the court.

"We also arrested Ebrima Suma in respect of a armed robbery by the task force team, and while investigating Suma started giving us the names of his gang members," he further revealed.

"The first name he gave was Ramsis aka Soriba Condeh, and we asked him to tell us where Soriba resides. But Suma insisted that he did not know, but knew where Amadou Jallow resided. We arrested Amadou Jallow," PW9 added.

The case was at that point adjourned to 12th August 2010.

Former police chief Ensa Badjie 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.