Tuesday, July 27, 2021

NIA 9 Case: Defence Lawyers Ask Court to Reject Admissibility of Transcribed Audio


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By Nelson Manneh

Defence Lawyers in the ongoing criminal trial of seven former intelligence officials, have all objected to the admissibility of a document which is said to be transcriptions of an audio interview of some NIA officials.

According to the testimonies, there was a panel set up at Police Headquarters to interrogate some officials from the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), and the interrogation was recorded. The audio was played before the Court despite its inaudibility, and it was admitted.

When the case was called, Lawyer Antouman Gaye announced his appearance for the State along with Lawyers Rachel Y. Mendy and Combeh Gaye, while lawyers Christopher E Mene, Ibrahima Jallow, Saikou Fatty and O Suso, represented the accused persons.

Continuing with the trial, Defence Lawyer Jallow informed the Court that the transcription of the audio is not relevant on the grounds that it does not comply with the rules of evidence. Lawyer Jallow maintained that there is nowhere that a person who transcribed the audio, is sworn before Court.

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Prosecution Lawyer Combeh Gaye in her counter argument said the issue of identification of exhibit T2 (external hard drive), is not the issue because it is already in evidence; that she has already told the Court how she prepared the (transcribed) document, adding she has to be understood for its purpose.

She further argued that it will be ridiculous for the witness to transcribe in ‘mandinka’ or ‘wolof’. She said the witness is a staff of the judiciary and is competent to prepare the document as she did. She finally urged the Court to admit the audio transcribed, into evidence.

Lawyer Christopher E. Mene told the Court that the authorities raised by the prosecution has no bearing on the issue at hand; that the issue before the Court is whether a proper foundation has been laid and that there is a difference between translation and transcription.

The matter will be coming today at 1 pm for continuation of hearing and ruling on the argument between the defence and prosecution.

Habibatou Jallow, the thirty-fifth Prosecution Witness (PW35) and staff at the Judiciary, yesterday 9th April 2019, testified in the ongoing criminal trial involving former Intelligence Chiefs.

The accused persons in the trial are Yankuba Badjie, an ex-director of the NIA, Sheikh Omar Jeng, an ex-director of operations at the NIA, Baboucar Sallah, Haruna Suso, Tamba Mansareh, Lamin Darboe, and Lamin Lang Sanyang. The 2nd accused person Louise Gomez, an ex-deputy director NIA, passed away in Government custody, during the course of the trial. However, Yusupha Jammeh, the 6th accused person was discharged by the Court, upon the State’s application.

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