By Yankuba Jallow
Lawyers Lamin S. Camara and Abdoulie Sisoho Counsels for Fatoumata Jahumpa Ceesay and Yankuba Touray on Monday cross-examined Alagie Kanyi, an erstwhile member of the Gambia National Army.
When the case was called before Justice Aminata Saho-Ceesay, Counsel AN Yusuf announced representation for the State, and Lawyers Camara along with Sisoho represented the two accused persons.
The two accused persons (defendants) are facing charges on interference with TRRC witness and conspiracy contrary to the Criminal Code. They both denied culpability and were granted bail by the High Court. Touray was an ex-Secretary of State of Local Government and Lands in both the AFPRC and the APRC regimes whereas Jahumpa-Ceesay was a one-time Speaker of the National Assembly during the reign of APRC government.
Kanyi was cross-examined on the testimony he made before the court as well as the two statements he made at the police station to the investigators. An Africell printed document of the conversation between Alagie Kanyi and the two accused persons was tendered by Lawyer A. Sisoho and marked as Exhibit.
During cross-examination, the witness (Kanyi) told the court that the two accused persons have never told him not to cooperate or give misleading testimonies to the TRRC.
“From your conversation with the 2nd Defendant (Fatoumata Jahumpa Ceesay), has she asked you not to cooperate with the TRRC?” Lawyer Camara asked.
“No, she hasn’t” Kanyi said.
“Do you remember your first conversation with her?” Lawyer Camara (LSC) asked.
“Yes, I remembered. I remembered only one conversation between me and her,” Kanyi replied.
“Who initiated the first conversation between you and her?” LSC pressed.
“I don’t know,” the witness replied.
On the statement he made to the police investigators dated 7th March 2019, Kanyi indicated that he received a call from a lady who claimed to be FJC adding that this was prior to Yankuba Touray calling him. He indicated in that statement that the lady advised him to take care of his mother so that she could continue to pray for her.
“Is that your statement?” Lawyer Camara asked. In his reply, Kanyi indicated that it is his statement but that police statement of his is incomplete.
“Did the 2nd defendant (FJC) in any way dissuade you from appearing before the TRRC?” LSC questioned.
“No,” Kanyi answered.
“Did she in anyway encourage you to lie before the TRRC?” the lawyer inquired.
“No,” Kanyi replied.
“Did she in any way encourage you to conceal evidence before the TRRC?” the Learned Senior Lawyer asked.
“No,” Kanyi replied.
On his statement that he made on the 10th March 2019 to the police investigators, Kanyi was cross-examined on similar line like that of the 7th March 2019 statement in which he gave the same response.
“Do you remember what you told the TRRC regarding your conversation with the 2nddefendant (FJC)?” Lawyer Camara asked.
“I can’t remember,” Kanyi said.
“Did you tell the investigators that you have solicited the assistance/help of the 2ndDefendant (FJC)?” LSC asked.
“No,” Kanyi replied.
“Did you tell the investigators at the TRRC that after your initial call to the 2nd Defendant, you personally called her again?” the Lawyer asked.
“I can’t remember telling them that,” Kanyi answered.
Kanyi after reading the content of his statements dated the 7th March and 10th March 2019, he said the statements weren’t his handwriting.
Lawyer Sisoho put it to the witness that the contents of his statements are not the same.
“I don’t know,” Kanyi replied.
Just as FJC, Kanyi said he received a call from a person who did identify himself as Yanks. He said the person asked him about the TRRC adding that the person told him “don’t mind them”.
“Did you ask the 1st defendant (Yankuba Touray) what he meant by don’t mind them?” Sisoho asked.
“I can’t remember that – I did not ask him,” Kanyi said.
Kanyi said his number was 7633692 and it was the number that Yanks called him on.
At this juncture, Lawyer Sisoho applied to tender the prosecution’s Africell printed document containing the conversations between the accused persons and the witness. Despite being their document, Counsel Yusuf objected saying the witness is not the proper witness through whom the document could be tendered. The State Counsel argued that the document is not addressed to the witness (Kanyi) and therefore, the defence cannot tender the document through him. He said the court should call the proper person through whom the document can be tendered through – either the maker or the person to whom the document is addressed.
Lawyers Sisoho and Camara in his reply said the document is not addressed to anybody. He told the court that the document is part of the indictment that the prosecution wants to rely on to prove the charge before the court. Sisoho said Kanyi is the only Africell customer having that number adding that the document is paramount in the case. Camara said: “I find it difficult to understand the merit of his objection to his own document attached to the indictment.” Camara said the law is that the State cannot object to such documents adding that the defence can tender photocopies of such documents.
“The prosecution cannot object to a document they have already served the defence,” Camara submitted.
In her ruling, the Trial Judge overruled the objection by the State Counsel, adding that the court cannot descend into the arena of proceedings to call witnesses to come and testify.
“The 1st defendant (Touray) has never asked you not to go to the TRRC?” Lawyer Sisoho asked Kanyi.
“He has never,” Kanyi replied.
“He (Touray) has never asked you not to cooperate with the TRRC?” the Lawyer asked.
“He has never,” Kanyi answered.
“He has never asked you to conceal any evidence from the TRRC,” Sisoho told the witness.
“I can’t remember him telling me that,” Kanyi said.
“Going by your statements, the 1st Defendant (Touray) has never discussed with you anything about the TRRC apart from telling you ‘don’t mind them’? Sisoho asked.
“Yes,” Kanyi replied.
The case was at this stage adjourned till 29th May, 12th June and 2nd July.