Oct 2, 2013, 12:58 PM
Trial continued yesterday in the case involving Alhagie Jobe, deputy editor-in-chief of the Daily Observer newspaper and one Mbye Bittaye, at the Special Criminal Court in Banjul before Justice Emmanuel Nkea.
It continued with the mini-trial or voire dire, and the cross-examination of the first prosecution witness (PW1), Jawor Keita, a police officer, attached to the police major crimes unit in Banjul.
The mini-trial was conducted to test the voluntarieness of both the cautionary and voluntary statements of the 1st accused, Alhagie Jobe.
Officer Keita told the court he could not remember the date the 1st accused person was arrested, but he (the witness) met him on 9 February 2013.
The arresting officer and the panel did not inform him when the 1st accused was arrested, Keita added.
PW1 said he could not also remember the duration of the investigation, adding that after meeting with the accused person on 9 February 2013, he did not know when the 1st accused was taken to court.
“As a panel member, I did not do everything in this case,” said officer Keita, adding that he was present when the 1st accused was writing his statement, but he could not remember the time the 1st accused wrote the statement, though it was in day time.
He added that he did not know whether the 1st accused had marks on his face and hands prior to his appearance before the panel.
The 1st accused did not complain of any discomfort before the panel, he said, adding that it could be true that the 1st accused was arrested on 8 February 2013, but he (the witness) did not attend the panel on 11 February 2013 to see the 1st accused; instead it was on 9 February 2013.
When it was put to the witness that the 1st accused was beaten and tortured for two days before he appeared before the panel, the witness replied that he did not know about that.
Counsel put it to him again that it was visible that the 1st accused had injuries on his face and hands, but the witness again said he did not know about that.
It was further put to him that it took the 1st accused hours to write his statements, but the witness continued to maintain that he did not know about that.
Counsel again put it to the witness that the reason it took hours for the 1st accused to write his statement was because he could hardly use his hands to write his statements, but the witness again said he did not know about that.
Still testifying under cross-examination, officer Keita said the independent witness was present, but he did not know his profession.
He admitted that the independent witness was called to come, but denied that the independent witness signed the statements in the absence of the 1st accused.
It was further put to him by counsel that the 1st accused was worried not to write the statements, because if did not he would receive more torture.
The case continues on 5th June 2013.