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Independent witness testifies in Editor Jobe and Co trial

Jun 6, 2013, 9:27 AM | Article By: Malamin L.M. Conteh

Ebrima Fatty, an independent witness, yesterday testified in the trial involving the deputy editor-in-chief of the Daily Observer newspaper, Alhagie Jobe, and one Mbye Bittaye, at the Special Criminal Court in Banjul before Justice Emmanuel Nkea.

The independent witness testimony centered on the mini-trial, otherwise called voire dire, to ascertain the voluntariness of statements of the accused, Alhagie Jobe, which he made to the penal of investigators at the NIA.

Alhagie Jobe was arraigned on a five-count charge of making an act with seditious intention, seditious publication, and possession of seditious publication, giving false information to public servant, and reckless and negligent, while Mbye Bittaye was arraigned on a single count of making preparation to do act with seditious intention.

Designated as the prosecution witness two (PW2), in the mini-trial, Ebrima Fatty told the court that he lives at Serrekunda, and he is a businessman, as well as a student, studying languages.

The independent witness said that he knows PW1, Jawor Keita, adding that he met the 1st accused, Alhagie Jobe, on 9 February2013, at the NIA.

He told the court that he was an independent witness at the time the statements of the 1st accused were being obtained at the NIA.

The witness added that from the statements written by the 1st accused, Alhagie Jobe, he understood that the 1st accused wrote something against the state that was why he was arrested.

He said Jobe was never harassed, adding that the 1st accused wrote his own his statements and signed it and he (the witness) also signed as well.

Mr Fatty further stated that the 1st accused was never beaten at the time of obtaining statements from him, neither was he harassed nor handcuffed.

The witness identified the statements in court when shown to him by the state counsel.

Under cross-examination, he told the court that he had been serving as an independent witness many times, adding that he could not justify why he was always called to serve as an independent witness.

He added that he was not paid for it, and was not receiving any transport fare from it.

I am a good citizen, that is why I am always called to serve as an independent witness without any pay or transport fare,” said the independent witness.

PW2 in the voire dire further testified that he was not looking for a job at the NIA, further stating that the statements were obtained in the day time, but he could not remember the exact time, as well as the duration of recording the statements.

He added that according to the 1st accused, he wrote something against the state but he (the witness) could not remember the whole contents of the statements.

The accused wrote the statements on his own, and he was never forced by PW1 to write what was contained in the statements, he said, adding that he did not know whether the 1st accused was seriously beaten for two days before he was called to serve as an independent witness.

The case continues on 6 June 2013.