Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Lawyer Wants TRRC Executive Secretary Arrested


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By Yankuba Jallow and Nelson Manneh

A defence lawyer on Monday made an application for the high court to issue a bench warrant for the arrest of the Executive Secretary of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations (TRRC) Commissions for his failure to honour a court order.

Dr Baba Galleh Jallow was ordered to appear before the High Cour by Justice Jaiteh t to produce a document in custody of the TRRC, but he failed to appear in court.

Abdoulie Sisoho the lawyer for Yankuba Touray, a former Minister of Local Government and Lands, has asked Justice Ebrima Jaiteh to issue a bench warrant for the arrest of Dr. Baba Galleh Jallow.

Yankuba Touray is facing a single charge of murder. According to the particulars of offence, Yankuba Touray sometime in June 1995, with malice aforethought caused the death of one Ousman Koro Ceesay by beating him with a pestle-like object and other dangerous weapons. Mr. Touray was arraigned before the court on the 8th July 2019 and he refused to take his plea and entered a plea of constitutional immunity, but the court entered a plea of not guilty for him.

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Touray’s trial came in the wake of his refusal to give testimony before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations (TRRC). He was charged Court with contempt but the case was struck out of Court after the judge held that the prosecution failed to follow proper procedures in bringing the matter to Court.  Touray was later charged to Court with interfering with a potential witness, but the case was withdrawn by the State.

Sisoho said Dr. Jallow was subpoena to appear before the court on the 4th November 2019 and to produce a document. The senior counsel said Dr. Jallow does not honour the court’s subpoena to appear and he has not communicated the reason for his failure to appear before the court on Monday as indicated in the subpoena.

“I urge the court to issue a bench warrant of arrest of Baba Galleh Jallow, the Executive Secretary of the TRRC and to show cause why he decided to contempt of the court order (to appear),” Sisoho said.

Sisoho said the subpoena was issued pursuant to section 221 of the Evidence Act and the court has it in record that Baba Galleh Jallow has been served (there is an affidavit of service). Sisoho said a subpoena is command by law and failure to obey the command, the court has a duty to act to ensure that its orders are respected. The senior legal representative said.

Counsel A.M. Yusuf, the State Counsel in this matter objected to the application saying criminal procedure has guiding rules, which must be observed. He argued that the guiding principles of a criminal trial are found in section 233 to 237 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) and therefore, the defense cannot call in a witness when the prosecution has not close its case.

“It baffles me at this stage for counsel for defense to apply to call for a witness when we don’t close our case,” Yusuf said.

He said section 192 of the Evidence Act makes provision for the order of examination of a witness. He said from examination, the next thing is cross-examination and then re-examination. He told the court that their witness is under cross-examination but what Counsel Sisoho intends to do fault the procedure as provided by the laws.

“Before any witness is called, PW2 must be dispelled,” the Principal State Counsel argued.

He said from the face of the subpoena (summon to appear), the Executive Secretary is called to testify about all his knows about the case. He said the specific provision of the law for calling witnesses before the court is section 117 of the CPC. He said the subpoena was not issued pursuant to section 221 of  the Evidence Act as put forward by Lawyer Sisoho, instead it was issued pursuant to section 117 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

“The summons said he (the Executive Secretary) should come and testify all he knows. I will urge the court to discontinue with the summons and for Counsel to continue with the cross-examination of PW2,” Counsel Yusuf said.

Counsel Yusuf also made application for cost against Counsel Sisoho in person pursuant to section 143 of the CPC.

Lawyer Sisoho in his reply on points of law said the arguments put forward by Counsel Yusuf are misconceived. He said it is written on the face of the document, “A summon to a witness to produce a document”. Lawyer Sisoho added that the same thing is written on the back of the summon.

“This means the witness should come before the court and produce a document. The subpoena is proper and in order,” Sisoho told the court.

He said section 117 of the CPC cited by Counsel Yusuf is an option in law adding that even if the subpoena was issued based on section 117, the court should still act pursuant to section 118 and 119 of the same authority.

Sisoho averred that the witness before the court has admitted making statements to the TRRC and to the police. Sisoho said therefore, it is the right time for an officer from the TRRC to come and tender his statement before the court.

The matter was adjourned by the Court for ruling and hearing.

On cross-examination, Ensa Mendy, the second prosecution witness (PW2) admitted before the court that he has made 3 written and 2 oral statements before the TRRC and police. He said he made all these statements in 2019. Counsel Sisoho put it to the witness all his statements were different, but Counsel Yussef objected saying the court should not allow the question because it sought to incriminate the witness. The court ruled that the statements are not before the court and therefore, the witness won’t be allowed to answer questions about statements that are not before the court.

The matter will be coming on the 11th November 2019 at 10:30 am to 12:20 pm.

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