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‘I was beaten up seriously’, says accused person

Feb 21, 2017, 10:50 AM | Article By: Dawda Faye

Ebrima B. Njie yesterday testified before Magistrate Janneh-Njie of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court that he was forced and threatened to sign his cautionary statement.

Ebrima B. Njie was charged along with Edrisa Manga with aiding Abdoulie Ceesay, former Managing Director of Taranga FM Radio, to escape from custody,

He added that he was seriously beaten up and locked up in a cell, and that water was poured on them.

In narrating his testimony, he told the court that he is a prison officer and lives at New Yundum.

He stated further that he is not working presently.

He adduced that he was taken to the NIA during the time of escape and kept there for two months and three days.

He testified that he was not invited to make a statement, adding that he did not write his cautionary statement.

He said he was called to sign the cautionary statement, adding that because of the severe treatment, he had to sign the cautionary statement.

He further stated that he was not given the opportunity to write the statement.

When prosecutor Jaiteh was asked to cross-examine the accused, he said he is new in the case and that the lead state counsel in the case was busy, adding that the lead counsel is the one who is au-fait with the case.

He said that as a junior counsel, he is learning court procedure.

He then urged the court to adjourn the case in order for the lead counsel to cross-examine the accused.

At this juncture, the defence counsel, Patrick Gomez, objected to the application.

He said the records had shown that the two state counsel were present during the last sitting.

He stated that the fundamental right of the accused was at stake, adding that to adjourn the case because the lead counsel was not present was “not an excuse”.

In his response, prosecutor Jaiteh told the court that by virtue of section 144 of the CPC, the case should be proved beyond reasonable doubt.

He added that the lead counsel should be present, urging the court to adjourn the case for a fair trial.

Magistrate Janneh-Njie subsequently granted the application made by the state counsel to adjourn the case.

The case was then adjourned for 28 February 2017.

Earlier, prosecutor Jaiteh told the court they were supposed to call an independent witness for a voire dire, and that the witness was not available.

He then informed the court that the state was closing the case for the voire dire.

He applied for an adjournment, because the lead counsel was not available.