May 13, 2015, 12:47 PM
The trial involving Babylon Alkalo, Lamin B. Jarju, and 13 others recently proceeded before Magistrate Dayoh M. Small-Dago of the Brikama Magistrates’ Court with the testimony of the fifth prosecution witness.
When the case was called, the trial magistrate called the name of the minor, Ebrima Bah, who was given bail but later absconded.
Magistrate Dayoh told the prosecutor to apply for the charge to be withdrawn against the minor as the court could not hear a matter on someone in absentia, which was done by the prosecutor.
In his testimony, Abou Sarr, a farmer from Makumbaya village, said he could recall 20 February 2013, when they were at Badara Ceesay’s farm, and Valentine Ndeki called Francis Mendy to inform him that there were some youths cutting down cashew trees and other trees and also there was fire burning in the garden.
He said himself, Nuha, Francis and Badara went to the scene where they saw many youths burning dry trees.
Sarr said at the scene, he recognised Sarjo Badjie, Sutay Ceesay and Pa Jassey, among whom only Sarjo Badjie was among the accused persons.
He added that they went to report the matter to the police station, adding that he asked Pa Jassey, who ordered them to cut those trees and he said to him that it was his brother, Lamin B. Jarju, who told them to do it.
He told the court that when they came with the police at the scene, they counted 275 cashew trees that were cut down.
He said he gave a statement and signed it.
The magistrate then told the accused persons that he would not wait for their counsel, as he was in court before and could not be seen again.
He therefore asked the accused persons, one after the other, if they wanted to cross-examine the witness.
The 1st accused, Lamin Jarju, put it to the witness that all he said in his evidence were lies, but the witness maintained that all what he said was the truth.
The matter was adjourned till 11 March 2014.