Lawyer LJ Darboe Concludes Questioning Detective Sowe in Police Shooting Case

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By Kemeseng Sanneh (Kexx)

Senior Counsel Lamin J. Darboe has concluded his marathon questioning of Police detective Ebou Sowe from the Anti-Crime Unit in of The Gambia Police Force in the ongoing criminal trial of Ousainou Bojang, who is accused of shooting and killing two policemen in 2023.

Below is the detailed cross-examination between Lawyer Lamin J. Darboe and the witness, Ebou Sowe. Cross-examination in a criminal trial is intended to discredit the evidence of a witness.

Counsel Lamin J Darboe: Look at the entries of the 12th of September and tell the court where you were according to defence exhibit D4.

Detective Sowe: On that particular day, the defence exhibit has two columns and the timings are 17:27, 17:51, and 21:24, and the locations are Serekunda and Bambo respectively.

Counsel Lamin J Darboe: On the 13th of September, you left with the team that left Anti-Crime to Brufut. Is that correct?

Detective Sowe: Yes, that’s correct.

Counsel Lamin J Darboe: And from Brufut, you returned to the Anti-Crime Unit.

Detective Sowe: Yes, we returned to Anti-Crime.

Counsel Lamin J Darboe: Now, if you look at the entries of 12th September 2023, you were nowhere at the crime scene of the incident according to your telephone number?

Detective Sowe: My Lord, as for this call log, it didn’t show the location of the crime scene because the line is not my official number but a personal one, and Brufut junction is indicated on the call log.

Counsel Lamin J Darboe: But you were at Brufut junction.

Detective Sowe: Yes, I was.

Counsel Lamin J Darboe: Even though you were at Brufut Junction, this isn’t your official line but it indicates you were at Brufut Junction.

Detective Sowe: That’s why from the call log you could see in the document on the 13th of September is SMS and it’s casual, nothing to do with my profession but my personal life.

Counsel Lamin J Darboe: But your Africel call log places you at Banjulding at the Anti-Crime headquarters.

Detective Sowe: Yes, that’s correct.

Counsel Lamin J Darboe: The reason why it wasn’t shown that you were at the Sukuta traffic lights is because you weren’t at the traffic lights.

Detective Sowe: My Lord, this is a call log, and if I didn’t receive any call while at that particular place, it will not indicate it, but my Qcell line will clearly indicate that I was there.

Counsel Lamin J Darboe: I’m putting it to you that Commissioner Sowe (PW5) was not at the crime scene.

Detective Sowe: He was present at the scene.

Counsel Lamin J Darboe: I’m also putting it to you that the military officers Ismaila Bojang, Bakary Jarju, and Omar Jallow (PW1, PW2, PW3) were not at the crime scene.

Detective Sowe: That is incorrect. I met all the three of them at the crime scene.

Counsel Lamin J Darboe: Are you going to apologise to the first accused for fabricating an allegation against him? 

The question was overruled by the court.

Counsel Lamin J Darboe: Among the three witnesses (military officers) who did you interact with?

Detective Sowe: I interacted with all of them.

Counsel Lamin J Darboe: How many of the witnesses handed over the exhibits to you?

Detective Sowe: Only one of them did.

Counsel Lamin J Darboe: Who among them was it?

Detective Sowe: It was Bojang (PW1).

Counsel Lamin J Darboe: What did he hand over to you? Do you recall?

Detective Sowe: He handed over two empty gun cartridges.

Counsel Lamin J Darboe: Why you, not the senior?

Detective Sowe: It’s not about rank. I was the one who interacted with them.

Counsel Lamin J Darboe: That’s all I have for the witness.

Cross-examination of the witness by Counsel A Sillah for the second accused, Amie Bojang:

Counsel A. Sillah: Detective Sowe, could you inform the court how long you have been in the police force?

Detective Sowe: I have been in the police force for 9 years, from 2016 to date.

Counsel A. Sillah: Can we say you were employed during the new government’s regime?

Detective Sowe: No, I began my recruitment in 2015.

Counsel A. Sillah: On the 12th September 2023, can you tell the court how many officers constituted the panel?

Detective Sowe: I don’t know the exact number.

Counsel A. Sillah: I believe you played an active part in forming the panel.

Detective Sowe: I did not take part in forming the panel.

Counsel A. Sillah: Can you tell the court how long the investigation of the case took?

Detective Sowe: The investigation ended in November. So it is from September, October, and November.

Counsel A. Sillah: I’m putting it to you that you did not take any action in the investigation of this crime.

Detective Sowe: That is not correct. I took an active part in the investigation.

Counsel A. Sillah: If you have taken an active part in the investigation. Can you tell the court the outcome of the investigation?

Detective Sowe: We came up with a complete case file and it was forwarded for prosecution.

Counsel A. Sillah: If you say a complete case file. Were there any investigation reports?

Detective Sowe: Yes, there was an investigation report

Counsel A. Sillah: Where was the investigation report?

Detective Sowe: The investigation report is with Superintendent Sowe.  

Counsel A. Sillah: Can you provide the investigation report since you took part in the investigation?  

Answer: No, I cannot provide it as it’s not in my possession.  

Counsel A. Sillah: How many cartridges were handed over to you?  

Detective Sowe: Two cartridges were handed over to me.  

Counsel A. Sillah: What’s the size of the cartridges?

Detective Sowe: That’s not my area to determine the size.

Counsel A. Sillah: I’m putting it to you that your investigation wasn’t properly done in line with the law.

The Director of Public Prosecution Abdul Maita Yusuf objected and the question was disallowed.

Counsel A. Sillah: Detective Sowe, what was the recommendation of the panel after the investigation?  

Detective Sowe: The recommendation was for the accused to be prosecuted.  

Counsel A. Sillah: You tell the court whether the witnesses sw the asecond accused at the crime scene? 

Detective Sowe: We don’t have any information about that.  

Counsel A. Sillah: Yet, your recommendation was to prosecute all of them. 

The question was overruled by Justice Jaiteh.

Counsel A. Sillah: What was done with the gun found at the crime scene? 

Detective Sowe: The gun was not found at the crime scene; it was found at his escape route and taken to Headquarters for ballistic examination.  

Counsel A. Sillah: Was a fingerprint found on the gun to identify the user? 

Detective Sowe: That wasn’t my responsibility.  

Counsel A. Sillah: I’m putting it to you that you don’t know anything about the investigation, since you don’t know the number of the panel, the size of the cartridges, and the fingerprint evidence.  

Detective Sowe: That’s not my area of expertise; all evidence was sent to the expert’s team.  

Counsel A. Sillah: All you said in this court isn’t true but you are fed with the information.

Detective Sowe: All I said in court is true.  

Counsel A. Sillah: Can you tell the court how the crime scene was preserved?  

Detective Sowe: The crime scene was preserved by securing the place.  

Counsel A. Sillah: Was the escape route preserved as well?  

Detective Sowe: No, they only preserved the crime scene, not the escape route. How can they preserve the road?

Counsel A. Sillah: I’m putting to you that you know nothing about the case since you aren’t among the people who preserve the place 

Detective Sowe: The preservation is done by the serious crime officer and I am not part of that department 

Counsel A. Sillah: I’m putting to you that all the correct procedures weren’t followed during the investigation. 

Detective Sowe: All the required procedures were followed.

The presiding Judge Justice Jaiteh adjourned the case to Tuesday.

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