By Muhammed Barrow
The Chief of Jarra East Ansumana Sanneh, was on Tuesday February 27th 2019, cross-examined by Lawyer Abdoulie Fatty, in the ongoing criminal trial of Kassim Fadera, regarding a ‘WhatsApp’ audio he is alleged to have made against them.
The Chiefs of Lower River Region who are the complainants in this criminal suit, said the accused person insulted them in a ‘WhatsApp’ audio. Chief Sanneh is the third prosecution witness in this case.
When the case was called before Magistrate Peter A. Che of the Mansakonko Magistrates Court, CPL 3,999 Secka announced his appearance for the Inspector General of Police, whilst Lawyer A. Fatty represented the accused person.
Chief Sanneh testified by recalling that in November 2018, he received a voice audio from PW1 (Chief of Jarra West Yaya Jarjusey) in which he heard the accused saying APRC Chiefs who sat at a gathering with President Adama Barrow at State house, lied to him because they did not cherish him; that he also heard the accused person in that audio saying they were the ones who wrote to ex-President Yahya Jammeh and asked him to extend his stay in office as president for 90 days.
The witness told the Court that the accused person insulted all Chiefs in the Gambia; that the insult was not only meant for Chiefs of LRR alone. He said the insult the accused person uttered in the audio, was: ‘the Chiefs were telling lies’, and that he felt offended by the insult because of his social status.
The audio was replayed before the Court and the witness acknowledged it as authentic. Under cross-examination, the witness said he was appointed by former president Yahya Jammeh, as the Chief of Jarra East on the 24th of May 2007.
Lawyer Fatty asked the witness whether he was among those APRC Chiefs who visited President Adama Barrow. The witness was reluctant to answer the question and was confronted by the Magistrate that anger, cannot resolve the case. Thereafter, the Chief confirmed by saying he is an APRC Chief.
“Did you witness the accused making any audio?” Lawyer Fatty asked. But the witness responded in the negative.
“Do you have any communication with the accused person in relation to the said audio?” Lawyer Fatty asked the witness who again replied in the negative.
“Are you literate and do you have any qualification on voice recognition?” Lawyer Fatty asked.
The witness told the Court that he is literate but he does not have the qualification to recognize voices of people.
Lawyer Fatty further asked the witness whether he wants the Court to believe that the voice he heard, was that of the accused person without being a professional in voice recognition. The witness replied in the affirmative. Lawyer Fatty put it to the witness that he is not a voice expert and therefore, was speculating.
Prosecutor Secka under re-examination asked the witness which party he belonged to at the time of his appointment. The witness responded that he was a member of the APRC.
The Lawyer objected that there is no ambiguity about the party existing in 2007, and that the purpose of re-examination, was to clear ambiguity of issues touched during cross-examination.
The Magistrate said the party either APRC or UDP for example, is not important to the fact at hand.
The next witnesses who appeared were Alh. Demba Sanyang (PW4), and Ansumana Sanneh. Both are Chiefs of Kiang Central and Kiang East Districts respectively.
The same cross-examination strategy was used by Lawyer Fatty which made their responses the same.
Noticeably, Prosecutor CPL 3,999 Secka requested for an adjournment. Hence the two extra witnesses who were not available.
The magistrate emphasized that if the prosecution cannot close their case at the next sitting, he will close it for him.
The matter was adjourned to Tuesday March 12th 2019.