May 26, 2009, 5:52 AM
Former Inspector General of Police Ensa Badjie was last Friday found guilty on robbery-related offences by the Special Criminal Court, which convicted and sentenced him to life imprisonment.
He was found guilty of seven out of 12 charges filed against him by the state prosecutors in May 2010, after his arrest in March of the same year.
Badjie was convicted alongside former Chief Superintendent of Prisons Ali Ceesay, who got a three-year jail term or a fine of D30,000 after being found guilty on one out of the three-count charge preferred against him.
Ceesay was acquitted and discharged on count 14, conspiracy to defeat justice and interference with witnesses, and on count 15, which was about deceiving witnesses. He was found guilty on count 16, which was offences relating to judicial proceedings.
Indicted since May last year, Badjie was accused of conspiring with others “to break into and rob shops, banks and supermarkets between the years 2007 and 2009”, and thereby committed an offence.
Badjie was convicted and sentenced to seven years imprisonment on count one, which was conspiracy to commit felony, 14 years on count two, which was robbery with violence.
He was sentenced to life imprisonment on count five and count seven which were about robbery with violence, and two years on count 11, which was aiding a prisoner to escape, and another seven years on count 12, which was for official corruption,
Ex-police chief Ensa Badjie and his co-accused first appeared at the Special Criminal Court on Friday 21st May 2010, where their plea of not guilty was recorded, following their denial of the charges preferred against them by the state.
In delivering judgment, Justice Ikpala told a packed courtroom that the prosecution had proved the element of truth to secure the conviction of the accused persons.
The judge acquitted and discharged Badjie on count four, six, eight, nine, and ten respectively on the grounds that the said counts had not linked the convict with the crime, and the prosecution had failed to prove their case on those counts.
Justice Ikpala, among other things, stated that the prosecution, in order to prove its case called 12 witnesses, while the convicted persons also opened their defence, and called witnesses.
He said the prosecution also tendered several exhibits, and that both the prosecution and the defence filed briefs which were adopted by the court.
Mitigating for his clients, counsel Touray begged the superior court to temper justice with mercy.
“Both my clients are first time offenders. They also served more than two decades in active service, serving their nation to the best of their ability,” defence counsel said in his plea of mitigation.
“He is married with three wives and 12 siblings,” counsel said of Ali Ceesay.
“Ensa Badjie has risen up to the rank of Inspector General of Police and was, in fact, described by the President as the best IGP he has ever got,” Barrister Touray said of Badjie.
Judge Ikpala in his judgment said that Ensa Badjie has the right to appeal.
Defence counsel B.S Touray subsequently announced that the defence would appeal against the conviction of his clients.
The prosecution in order to prove its case called several witnesses to testify, including one Soriba Condeh, a convict serving a jail term of 14 years at Mile 2 prison, Pateh Jallow, former deputy chief of the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA), Muhammed Sillah, a police officer, Muhammed Darboe, also a convict at Mile 2, and Baba Tundeh Khan proprietor of the famous ‘City Pub’ Bar and Restaurant.
Also called as prosecution witnesses were Fatou Jatou Mendy, Salieu Baldeh, another convict serving a jail term, police superintendent Landing Bojang, officer commanding Serrekunda Police Station, Police Inspector Abdoulie Sowe, officer commanding Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Bakoteh Police Station, and Dodou Janneh, alias Do Boy, a murder convict serving a death sentence.
Ensa Badjie is already on another trial alongside two other senior military officers, under a 51-count charge including drugs-related offences, corruption and theft.
He is also currently involved appearing before the Banjul Magistrates’ Court for charges relating to abuse of office alongside Tijan Badjie, former head of police prosecutions