Counsels to debate on voir dire in police shooting trial

18

Kemeseng Sanneh (Kexx)

The prosecutor and defence counsels will at the next proceeding of the police shooting trial make submissions as to whether statements were obtained from the first accused person obtained voluntarily.
First accused, Ousainou Bojang, claims that his voluntary statement was obtained from him when he was beaten and drugged. His counsel therefore objected to the admission of this statement by a police witness in the trial. This led the court to institute a trial within a trial to examine whether or not the voluntary statement was obtained voluntarily. Evidence has been taken on this matter and now the counsels are to make their submissions after which the court will rule on this matter.
Meanwhile, the Director of Public Prosecutions A.M Yusuf has concluded his cross-examination of the second accused in the police shooting trial yesterday.

Below is the detailed verbatim transcription of the cross-examination by the Director of Public Prosecutions, A.M Yusuf:

Director of Public Prosecution: Before your arrest on Thursday, you had never been to the anti-crime unit in Banjulunding, is that correct?

Amie Bojang: Yes, that’s correct. I have never been there.

Director of Public Prosecution: After your arrest and being taken to the anti-crime unit, where did you spend the night?

Amie Bojang: I spent the night in a room within the anti-crime unit that had furniture.

Counsel Lamin Mboge objected to the question, stating it was diverting from the mini-trial.

Director of Public Prosecutions: Have you been bailed since your arrest?

Amie Bojang: No, I have not been bailed.

Director of Public Prosecutions: Have you been spending the night in that particular room since your arrest, without being taken into a cell?

Amie Bojang: I only spent the night there on Thursday. The next day, Friday, I was taken to Banjulunding police station at 21:00 hours and put in a cell.

Director of Public Prosecutions: Were you restrained within the house before being moved from Thursday to Friday?

Amie Bojang: No, on Friday morning, I was brought out and sat beside the charge office.

Director of Public Prosecutions: How long were you sitting there?

Amie Bojang: I was there until lunch was served, and then I was called for lunch and that’s where I slept.

Director of Public Prosecutions: The place you were called for lunch is at the police station of the anti-crime unit.

Amie Bojang: No, it is a big hall where meetings are conducted.

Director of Public Prosecutions: What happened after lunch?

Amie Bojang: I didn’t go anywhere; I walked outside and sat where I was before.

Director of Public Prosecutions: And you remained there until being taken to Banjulunding police station?

Amie Bojang: Yes, I was seated there until 21:00 hours when they bailed my brother.

Director of Public Prosecutions: Were you guarded by police officers the whole time you were seated?

Amie Bojang: Yes, a female officer was sitting next to me.

Director of Public Prosecutions: She was sitting with you until you were moved to Banjulunding police station?

Amie Bojang: Yes, I was seated there until 21:00 hours, until they bailed my brother.

Director of Public Prosecutions: All that time you were seated, were you guarded by police officers?

Amie Bojang: A female officer was sitting next to me

Director of Public Prosecutions: And she was sitting together with you until the time you were moved to Banjulunding police station.

Amie Bojang: Yes, she was sitting together with me after lunch until 21:00 hours.

Director of Public Prosecutions: It is correct that the day you were brought to the anti-crime, after entering the complex, you were taken inside the police station.

Amie Bojang: When I was arrested that afternoon at 5 pm, I was taken before a panel and I was questioned and then taken to the big hall where I spent the night.

Director of Public Prosecutions: The room where you’re taken is the same building as the charge office in the anti-crime premises or complex.

Amie Bojang: No, they are not under the same building. You have to leave the building to the next building.

Director of Public Prosecutions: The first day you were taken there, how many people visited the anti-crime complex?

Amie Bojang: I don’t know the number of people who entered the anti-crime, but people were going in and out; they normally dropped their phones at the gate.

Director of Public Prosecutions: How many anti-crime officers were at work that day?

Amie Bojang: I don’t know the number of officers working that day; even the people that were arrested, I wouldn’t be able to tell as they are many.

Director of Public Prosecutions: It’s correct that you don’t know the number of visitors the next day on Friday.

Amie Bojang: Yes, that is correct. I don’t know.

Director of Public Prosecutions: It’s correct that you don’t know the offices in the anti-crime unit.

Amie Bojang: I cannot count all the offices in the anti-crime. The offices I mentioned are the offices I know.

Director of Public Prosecutions: It is correct that you don’t know the number of entries in the anti-crime unit.

Amie Bojang: I cannot count that, what I know is all the people that had matters there used one entrance. All the people that came in respect of our matter were all taken to the panel which was facing my room.

Director of Public Prosecutions: From Thursday to Friday, how many people have cases at the anti-crime?

Amie Bojang: I don’t know.

Director of Public Prosecutions: I’m putting it to you that you’re lying since you don’t know the entrance to say that all the people that came used the entrance you entered.

Counsel J Darboe objected to the question posed to the witness arguing the word “lying” be withdrawn.

The court ruled that section 204 of the Evidence Act didn’t entertain such and asked the DPP to withdraw the word “lying” to “not telling the truth.” The DPP changed the word to “not telling the truth.”

Amie Bojang: I’m telling the truth.

Director of Public Prosecutions: you’re saying that you know all the people that came to anti-crime on that day?

Amie Bojang: I cannot say I know all the people who had cases there that day. But I was seated outside and saw all the people that entered and left the place, but I couldn’t tell the reason for their visit.

Director of Public Prosecutions: Will you be able to identify all the people who visited the anti-crime on Thursday and Friday?

Amie Bojang: Yes, when I see them, I could be able to identify them.

Director of Public Prosecutions: All the people who met you there at the panel, the hall, and where you are sitting, you can recognize them. Is that true?

Amie Bojang: When I was in the panel, I was unable to see the people outside, but when I was at the hall, I was able to see people outside and also while I was sitting outside.

Director of Public Prosecutions: Since you know all the people that entered the anti-crime, how many people came to report cases on Thursday?

Counsel J Darboe objected that the DPP was asking irrelevant questions. The court allowed the question.

Amie Bojang: I was arrested on Thursday at 5 pm, and people don’t report cases in the evening.

Director of Public Prosecutions: Are you saying on Thursday while you were there, no one came to report a case from 5 pm?

Amie Bojang: I didn’t see anyone who came to report cases. All the people who came went to the panel, and if I see those people, I will be able to identify them.

Director of Public Prosecutions: And on Friday, how many people came to report their case since you were there in the morning?

Amie Bojang: I wouldn’t be able to know how many people came in that day because they will go to the charge office or panel.

Director of Public Prosecutions: So, is it true you don’t know the number of people who came to report cases?

Amie Bojang: No, I don’t know.

Director of Public Prosecutions: How many officers are on duty or working on that day?

Amie Bojang: I cannot tell.

Director of Public Prosecutions: In the anti-crime premises, there is no one entrance.

Amie Bojang: I know only one entrance, big and small.

Director of Public Prosecutions: Among the people who went to report cases, can you mention five people?

Amie Bojang: I will not be able to tell you their names, but if I see them, I will be able to identify them.

Director of Public Prosecutions: You’ll be able to recognize them because you saw them before?

Amie Bojang: No, I have not seen them before.

Director of Public Prosecutions: Have you seen Ebou Sowe on that day?

Amie Bojang: Yes, I saw him because Ebou Sowe is working at the anti-crime.

Director of Public Prosecutions: Did he wear a uniform?

Amie Bojang: No, I didn’t see him wearing a uniform.

Director of Public Prosecutions: What type of clothes?

Amie Bojang: He was wearing long jeans and a white T-shirt.

Director of Public Prosecutions: The number of people that visited, is it close to 100 people?

Amie Bojang: I didn’t count because that wasn’t the purpose of my presence there.

Director of Public Prosecutions: Since your purpose wasn’t to know the number of people, then you don’t know the people that came there.

Amie Bojang: I will be able to recognize the people I saw there, and when I see them, I will be able to recognize them.

End of cross-examination.

No re-examination from Counsel Lamin J Darboe, and the court discharged DW2 from the witness stand. Counsel Lamin J Darboe closed his case in the mini-trial

On the issue of address to the court, Director of Public Prosecutions A.M Yusuf urged that Counsel Lamin Mboge should not address the court during the voir dire as his client is not directly involved in it.

Counsel Lamin Mboge contended that his client is charged together with the first accused and that separating them would go against the fair hearing guaranteed stipulated in section 24 of the Constitution.

In his ruling, Justice Jaiteh asserted that counsel Lamin Mboge has the right to address the court to establish the truth. He explained that allowing the address would not prejudice the case, citing section 24 of the Constitution as supporting such practice in our jurisdiction.

The court allocated time to each counsel for their briefs: Counsel Lamin Mboge was given 10 minutes for his address, Counsel J Darboe was allotted 20 minutes, and the Director of Public Prosecutions was granted 25 minutes. Counsel J Darboe would be allowed an additional 5 minutes to respond on points of law. The case was adjourned to 4th March 2024.