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Police Commissioner testifies in Femi Peters case

Dec 23, 2009, 12:27 PM | Article By: Dawda Faye

The case involving Femi Peters, campaign manager of the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) continued on 22nd December 2009 with the testimony of the prosecution's third witness.

In his testimony, Momodou Sowe, told the court that he is the deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Kanifing Division, and that he recognized the accused.

Appearing before principal magistrate Joseph Ikpala at the Kanifing Magistrates' court, Sowe said he was on duty on 24th October 2009, when he received a telephone message from his deputy, Superintendent Ebrima Manneh.

Manneh had reported that there was a UDP political rally being held at the Ebony Junction in Serrekunda, and was instructed by him to verify whether proper documentation had been acquired by the accused, that is, a permit to hold a rally and a permit to use a public address system.

He added that Ebrima Manneh later phoned back to inform him that he had requested such permit from the accused, but the accused did not produce any.

Police commissioner Sowe said he then left his office for the venue of the rally where, on arrival, he found the gathering and the rally in progress.

He said he telephoned the police commissioner of Operations to enquire whether he issued a permit for the rally, who replied in the negative.

He said the commissioner of Operations subsequently joined him. He said it was Omar Jawo, Ebrima Manneh, Sabu Ceesay and himself who went to the gathering and approached the accused (Femi Peters) who was asked whether they had a permit to go ahead with the rally and to use a public address system.

The accused, Commissioner Sowe informed the court, told them that he was not in a position to answer the question, and asked them to wait until the end of the rally. The accused also told them that whenever he (the accused person) was called upon, he was ready to answer, Sowe went on, adding that the place was crowded and they had to withdraw from there, and stood aside some meters away from the gathering.

After the rally, people were seen escorting a vehicle and, eventually, they dispersed. He said he was not shown any permit and that he understood that they (the organizers of the rally) were never issued a permit.

Sowe went on to further inform the court that he knew the accused as the campaign manager of the UDP and that he (Peters) was consequently arrested and charged for committing an offence.

Under cross-examination, he told the court that he found the accused person standing at the rally, around the podium, and talking to a lot of people. He said that as far as he knows, it is the commissioner of Operations who issues permits for such public meetings and who signs them.

Commissioner Sowe also informed the court that he had seen a letter in a file rejecting the issuing of a permit to hold the rally, and would produce the rejection letter if he was given the opportunity to do so.

At this junction, the defence counsel applied for the witness to produce the rejection letter.

The police prosecutor Inspector Fadera rose to object to the application made by the defence counsel since, he said, the witness has said the document was not in his custody. He argued that the document forms part of their case, and that they intend to tender the letter through another witness. Fadera urged the court to deny the application.

Defence counsel lawyer Ousainou Darboe stood and challenged Fadera?s submission, declaring that it was important to have the said letter produced by the witness who he wanted to cross-examine on the document.

Magistrate Ikpala ruled that the defence counsel could recall the witness to cross-examine him on the document after it has been tendered by the prosecution.

The case was adjourned to 6th January 2010.