#Article (Archive)

‘Lawyers make worse witnesses,’ says defence counsel in Tina Faal’s trial

Sep 7, 2016, 9:42 AM | Article By: Dawda Faye

(Thursday September 01, 2016 Issue)

Defence counsel Combeh Gaye yesterday told the Banjul Magistrates’ Court before Magistrate Omar Cham that “lawyers make worse witnesses”.

Counsel Gaye made this statement when she found it difficult for Lawyer Omar Njie, the second prosecution witness, to answer her questions the way she wanted, under cross-examination.

When the case was called, First Class 4415 Fatoumata Jallow stood up and told the court that she was representing the IGP.

Lawyer Combeh announced her representation for the accused.

First Class Jallow then told the court that the actual prosecutor, Inspector S. Sanyang, in the case, was on his feet in another court, adding that he had asked for a fifteen-minute stand down.

The defence counsel did not raise any objection.

The magistrate then stood down the case for fifteen minutes.

When the case resumed, the prosecution witness, lawyer Omar Njie, was given the letter he wrote to read, which he did.

The prosecutor then said that was all for the witness.

Under cross-examination, Mr Njie was reminded that at the last sitting, he told the court the aircraft was stationed at Banjul International Airport. He answered in the positive.

He was asked how long the aircraft was stationed there, and he said it was stationed since 2000 because there was some litigation over the aircraft.

Asked where at the airport the aircraft was stationed, Njie said it was stationed within the airport premises, adding that there are no marks or labels at the airport.

He further stated that he had once visited the aircraft.

The defence counsel told him that he would agree with her that access to the airport is strictly controlled by the GCAA.

He answered in the positive, adding that it is a controlled area.

It was put to him that he was not an eyewitness to the removal of parts of the aircraft, and that he was told about the removal of the parts of the aircraft.

In response, he said he made it very clear that he received information that parts of the aircraft were removed, and one of the engines was taken from the aircraft.

He said this was what he was told by lawyer Musa Bittaye.

Asked whether Lawyer Bittaye works at the airport, Njie said Bittaye does not, adding that Bittaye is a legal practitioner.

Asked whether Mr Bittaye was present during the alleged removal, Njie responded that he had no knowledge about that.

It was put to Mr Njie that since he agreed that the airport is a controlled area; therefore, it was absolutely certain that the individual who allegedly removed parts of the aircraft got the approval of the GCAA.

Njie said he had no knowledge as to how they managed to get access to a secured area like Banjul International Airport, and removed the parts of the aircraft.

“You never saw the accused remove anything from the aircraft in question,” counsel Gaye put it to him.

“That is correct,” the witness answered.

At this juncture, the prosecutor applied for an adjournment, for the third prosecution witness to be present for continuation of the hearing.

The defence counsel did not raise any objection.

The case was then adjourned until 19 September 2016.