Sunday, March 26, 2023

“Sait Matty Jaw Has Committed No Crime” Says Defence Counsel


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By Mamadou Dem Defence attorney for Sait Matty Jaw, the lecturer at the University ofSait Matty Jaw The Gambia (UTG), who is standing trial on four counts before the Banjul Magistrates’ Court, yesterday, 13 April, submitted that his client has committed no crime.Lawyer Lamin S. Camara made this pronouncement while making a ‘no case to answer’ submission on behalf of the said accused before Magistrate Samsideen Conteh. He started by telling the court that they wished to exercise their right under section 166 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) of the laws of the Gambia. “The accused person, Sait Matty Jaw is charged with four counts of various offences, ranging from conspiracy to commit a misdemeanour, failure to register a business and two counts of disobedience of statutory duty. It is our humble submission that prosecution has woefully failed to establish the minimum evidential burden required for the accused person to be asked to enter his defence,” said Camara. The defence counsel argued that it is trite law that where the prosecution has failed to prove  the elements charged, the court should proceed to discharge that particular accused person on that charge or charges after a no case submission has been made. He recalled that the prosecution called three witnesses in an effort to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt. “It is our submission that the prosecution witnesses did not advance or give any cogent evidence that required the court to ask the accused to enter his defence,” he argued. Barrister Camara further submitted that Pw1 testified among other things that he obtained cautionary and voluntary statements from the accused but when asked under cross-examination what he did prior to obtaining the statements, he said he read the cautionary wordings to the accused person. The defence told the court that Pw1 did not say that an independent witness was present while recording or obtaining such statements from the accused. He added that what was more interesting in the evidence of Pw1 was that he informed the court that the accused person alongside two others were accused of trying to conduct a nationwide survey without a clearance from the authorities. He therefore questioned whether the accused person did actually try to conduct nationwide survey without clearance from the authorities. The defence further submitted that during Pw1’s evidence in-chief, he testified that he investigated the matter during the course of which they found out that the accused conducted training for potential surveyors for about four to five days and that these surveyors were sent almost to all the regions in the country. During cross-examination of the witness, this witness told the court that exhibit A2-A3 that are questionnaires in respect of the survey to be conducted were not authored by the accused person and does not bear his name anywhere, counsel camara added. “It is also very obvious on exhibit A that there is no independent witness on the exhibit as per the evidence of Pw1. Assuming without conceding that exhibit A contains a confession of any kind whatsoever be link to any of the charges because exhibit A has not made any value at all under section 31 sub 2 of the Evidence Act”, he said. Lawyer Camara further submitted that the second prosecution witness, Mustapha Jaw, testified as to his participation in the workshop and the questionnaires they were given. He said the witness was very truthful when he said “we asked the facilitators whether there was a clearance for the training and they said they will take care of it later.” The defence argued that Pw2 did not communicate his consent to the accused person, adding that he (Pw2) also testified that the training they attended was about an interview. Still on the evidence of Pw3, the defence submitted that Amadou John told the court that he told the facilitators that there was a need for clearance. At this juncture, Lawyer Camara submitted that his client was neither a facilitator nor the author of the questionnaires. He said Mr. John testified that when he raised the issue of clearance to the accused person via text, the accused told him to raise it with the facilitators. He added that apart from the training, no data was collected in Banjul. “This evidence was confirmed by Pw1.” “My humble submission is that no crime was committed and no crime was in contemplation by the accused person,” submitted Camara. He said Pw3 has also told the same court that the accused was never aware that clearance was not obtained and that all the witnesses admitted that all what transpired was a training. “There is no right for commission even if the accused collected data, much more he did not collect any. There is no evidence before the court that Mr. Jaw collected any data,” he submitted. Lawyer Camara argued further that for prosecution to succeed with a prima facie case, it needs to prove certain elements of the offence and that the evidence of the prosecution must have been so unreliable that no reasonable tribunal will convict and that the evidence of the prosecution must have been thoroughly discredited under cross-examination. He said there is nowhere in the evidence adduced by prosecution witnesses that the accused involved in carrying out any business anywhere in the country. The defence cited some authorities in cases in Nigeria and the State against Mambury Njie where the trial judge, Justice Mikailu, held that the prosecution must prove the statute that impose that duty on the accused person. “No duty was impose on the accused by any statute and no business was carried out by the accused,” he submitted. He told the court that the prosecution has not established any of the ingredients, i.e. the ‘Mens rea and Actus rea’ of the offence charged. Defence counsel Camara concluded “In the circumstances, we respectfully urged Your Worship to acquit and discharge Sait Matty Jaw for the prosecution’s dismal failure to establish a prima facie case against the accused person.” The case was adjourned to Wednesday, 15th April, 2015 for the prosecution to make its submissions.]]>

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