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Voire dire in defilement trial

Jul 26, 2013, 10:56 AM | Article By: Malamin L.M. Conteh

The defilement trial involving one Demba Sowe continued yesterday at the Special Criminal Court in Banjul before Justice Emmanuel Nkea.

The trial continued with the testimony of the first prosecution witness (PW1) in a voir dire conducted to ascertain the voluntariness of the statement obtained from the accused person.

Demba Sowe was alleged to have deflowered an underage girl of 12 years at Farafenni Town, in the North Bank Region, a charge he had denied.

Testifying, Ousman Bah told the court that he is a police officer attached to the major crime unit police headquarters in Banjul.

PW1 further told the court that he recognised the accused person in connection with the case before the court.

He recalled on 25 June 2012, when he was instructed by his station officer to obtain statement from the accused, Demba Sowe.

“I invited the accused before my desk and also invited an independent witness in the name of one Basiru Drammeh,” officer Bah said.

“I read the particulars to the accused before recording the statement. I read the cautionary wording to him in Fula language. I write the statement in English language, and interpreted it to him in Fula,” he added.

The accused accepted and thumb-printed the statement, the independent witness signed, and he endorsed it, he said, adding that he equally recorded the voluntary statement of the accused on the following day in the same procedure as he recorded the cautionary statement, he explained.

He identified the statements in court which the state counsel applied to and it was admitted as exhibits in the voire dire without any objection from the defence counsel.

The witness told the court that the accused was never beaten and was not on handcuff while statement was being obtained from him, and he was not promised, nor was he under any pressure.

The case continues.