When the case was called on the 23rd March, 2021, ASP Jahateh rose and told the court that he was representing the IGP along with Warrant First Class 2231 Gibba and Inspector Sanyang. He stated that the accused persons and their lawyer, Lamin S. Camara, were not present in court. He noted that no reason was advanced by the defence as to why they were not present in court. He applied for an adjournment at the instance of the defence.
The presiding magistrate then told the court that the case would be adjourned to the 12th April, 2021, to give the defence the benefit of the doubt to file a no-case submission.
This followed the testimony of the last prosecution witness, Sisaho Nyabally. The witness testified that he lives at Serrekunda and he is a narcotic officer. He stated that he is stationed at Serrekunda Police Station.
He further noted that on the 6th October, 2020, he was part of a team of narcotic officers. He informed the court that he saw the accused persons in the past. He adduced that on the 6th October, 2020, a team of narcotic officers left the charge office for a patrol. He said the team comprised Abdoulie Jarju, Ebrima Fadera, Landing Tamba and himself.
He testified that upon arrival at Queen’s Head Bar their vehicle stopped. He told the court that they met some people and told them that they would like to conduct a search after they identified themselves as narcotic officers. He revealed that as their vehicle stopped, some of his colleagues went to a corner while some stayed.
“At Queen’s Head Bar, we conducted a search on the people we found. As we were going, we realized that two of our men were left behind,” he testified. He went on to say that when they realized the absence of his colleagues, they boarded a vehicle and heard a shout for help from the junction. He stated that he and his other colleagues went to the scene, and when they arrived, they showed out their warrant cards.
“On arrival, we found our colleagues struggling with the suspect, Tijan Macauley, who was being cuffed. As we were trying to get Tijan into the vehicle, the crowd insisted that Tijan would not go,” he told the court.
He revealed that he realised that among the crowd, there was a lady called Yakumba Jaiteh, and that she was with an old man he believed to be her father. He further stated that as they were struggling with Tijan to get him into the vehicle, Yakumba and her father dragged Tijan from the officers. He added that Yakumba and her father held Tijan so that he would not be arrested.
“We succeeded getting Tijan into the vehicle. As he was in the vehicle, Yakumba and her father still pulled Tijan from the vehicle and he fell. We drove to the Serrekunda Police Station. On arrival, Ebrima Fadera was complaining about some injuries he sustained. He was escorted to the hospital where he was treated and discharged. I later made my statement and signed it,” he narrated.
Under cross-examination to test the credibility of the witness, Lawyer L.S. Camara, who was representing the accused persons, rose and asked him how long he has been a narcotic officer. He said he served twelve years as a narcotic officer. It was put to him that he said that at the Queen’s Head Bar, he and his colleagues went to the junction. He answered in the positive.
“How long have you been at the junction before you went to the Queen’s Head Bar?” he was asked.
“Not long,” he replied.
“Who were not at the scene when you went back to your vehicle?” Counsel Camara wanted to know.
“They were Abdoulie Jarju and Ebrima Fadera,” he said.
He was asked whether Abdoulie Jarju and Ebrima Fadera were the officers who went to Tijan and handcuffed him. He replied in the positive. It was put to him that he said that when they arrived they found a crowd. He was asked how big the crowd was. In response, he said it was not a large crowd. He was also asked whether there were men and women mixed together. He answered in the positive.
It was put to him that he did not know Yakumba before. He noted that he could recognise her. It was also put to him that he did not know Yusupha Jaiteh before. He answered in the negative. He asked whether the majority of people who were pushing and pulling were at the junction. He replied that they could have been there.
“Where did you realise that the accused persons were among the crowd?”
“They were on the ground.”
“At the scene, did you specifically know Yakumba?”
“Yes. But for Yusupha Jaiteh, I knew him at the station.”
”Were you present when Yakumba spoke to Jarju and Fadera?”
“Because you were not there, you do not know what transpired between the accused persons and Jarju and Fadera.”
It was put to him that he did not know the circumstances that led to the arrest of Tijan Macauley. He stated that he knew how Tijan was arrested but further told the court that he was not present when Tijan was arrested and put in cuffs.
At this juncture, he was given his statement which he confirmed. Counsel Camara applied to tender the statement. The prosecution team did not raise any objection to the tendering of the document. It was subsequently admitted by the court.