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Lawyer Darboe challenges prosecution witness

Jan 21, 2010, 2:18 PM | Article By: Dawda Faye

Lawyer Darboe representing Femi Peters on Tuesday challenged by way of cross-examination Superintendent Ken Mendy, the officer commanding the registry at Police Headquarters in Banjul, to produce in court a rejection letter not allowing the ruling APRC to hold a political rally.

Mendy was testifying as the fourth prosecution witnessed against Femi Peters, on 19th January 2010, in the trial before Principal Magistrate Ikpala of the Kanifing Magistrates' Court.

Under cross-examinination, the witness told the court that he has been the Officer Commanding Registry for ten years and that, throughout this period, he has been dealing with the incoming and outgoing correspondence on applications for a permit.

He confirmed that the UDP was not the only applicant to hold a rally, and further said that he must check their file as to whether there was an application by the Minority Leader of the National Assembly for a permit to hold a rally in his constituency.

He went on to say that he could not remember whether in early November 2009 the UDP had applied to hold a rally near Africell. He again said that he has to go through the file.

He further told the court under cross-examination that he did not tell the accused the reason for refusing the application for a permit, and that the IGP did not tell him why the application was not approved.

When put to him by the defence counsel that the Governor of Western Region two weeks ago, on the TV, organised political rallies, the witness in reply said he had no idea about such, adding that he was not aware that militants of APRC were present or his Minister.

"Have the police ever refused the APRC permit to hold a rally?" the defence counsel asked. "I cannot tell," replied Mendy.

Superintendent Mendy maintained that when an application is approved by the police, the applicant is written to and that when it was not approved, this was verbally communicated to the applicant.

He further informed the court that the current administration of the police does not write or give reasons for rejecting an application for a permit.

"Apart from the UDP, have the other political parties ever applied for permit to hold rallies?" the defence counsel enquired.

"Some of their applications were approved and some were not," Mendy answered.

He told the court that he could recollect about the opposition parties' applications, but could not remember the APRC's application for a permit to hold a rally.

"I am putting it to you that APRC has never applied for a permit to hold a rally," the defence counsel challenged. In reply, the witness subsequently responded that APRC had applied for a permit and their application was rejected.

At this juncture, Lawyer Darboe applied for the witness to produce in court a rejection letter not allowing the APRC to hold a rally, and also all the applications by the UDP and that of the Minority Leader of the National Assembly which were rejected.

The case was adjourned to today for the continuation of hearing.