By Yankuba Jallow/Kebba Secka
Corporal Jino Sanneh, the fifth prosecution witness in the ongoing criminal trial involving 12 soldiers facing treasonable charges, said he was not the administrator 0f a ‘Whatsapp’ group allegedly created by some soldiers.
He made the assertion whilst under cross-examination by defence lawyer Sheriff Kumba Jobe, on Friday the 26th January 2018, before the panellist of the general Court-Martial.
Sanneh testified that he removed himself from the group chat called “True Friends” when the group was discovered by the authorities, before his arrest.
‘‘How can you remove yourself from the group when you are not an administrator?’’ asked Lawyer Jobe.
‘‘I don’t know,’’ answered the witness.
“Why did you remove yourself from the group chat and delete the messages therein?” asked Lawyer Jobe.
“I don’t know,” answered the witness.
“You deleted them in an effort to cover up yourself,” said Lawyer Jobe.
The witness responded in the negative.
“Can you remember who created the ‘Whatsapp’ group?” asked Lawyer Jobe.
“Actually, I don’t know who created the group but I was added by Sergeant Yusupha Jatta,” responded Corporal Sanneh; that he was added in the Month of July, 2017.
“Was there any force or duress used against you to join the group or you came voluntarily?” asked Lawyer Jobe.
“I was invited,” the witness responded.
“You accepted the invitation without duress, force or threats?” asked Lawyer Jobe.
“Yes sir,” responded the witness.
“As you joined the group, do you know the responsibility and the accountability of the group members?” Lawyer Jobe asked.
“I don’t know,” said the witness.
“How many members were in the group?” asked Lawyer Jobe.
“I know only one member,” the witness said.
“Do you know 7114956?” asked Lawyer Jobe.
“I can’t remember,” he said.
He said he cannot remember the number because he gave only one number to the investigators. Lawyer Jobe applied for the Court-Martial to have a view of his own statement that he gave to the investigators. After viewing the statement, the witness identified the statement as his and that the information therein was his.
Lawyer Jobe continued to ask the witness whether he still maintains that the telephone number was not his and the witness responded that he could not remember the number.
“Can you remember things that were discussed in the chat group or the content of the group?” asked Lawyer Jobe.
“I can only remember things that were discussed during the meeting, in my presence,” he said.
“Do you receive messages and audios in the group?” asked Lawyer Jobe.
“Yes, but I cannot remember posting any audios or messages in the group,” the witness said.
“Can you remember the messages or audios you used to receive from the chat group?” asked Lawyer Jobe.
“I can’t remember,” the witness responded.
“Did you ever receive any message or audio from the chat group that sought to overthrow the Government of the Gambia?” asked Lawyer Jobe.
“I can’t remember,” Corporal Sanneh responded.
“Did you ever participate in any activities that sought to overthrow the Government of the Gambia?” asked Lawyer Jobe.
“Yes, I did. At the meeting place in Lamin Village, where it was discussed,” the witness responded.
“Are you loyal to the Government of the Gambia?” asked Lawyer Jobe.
The witness responded in the affirmative.
“Did you report to the authorities of the activities that you participated in?” asked Lawyer Jobe.
At this juncture, State Counsel, Lawyer AN Yusuf objected to the admissibility of the question referring to it as one that sought to incriminate the witness. The Court-Martial overruled the question and upheld the objection.
“Is it correct that you were arrested in connection with an unexpected activity of yours” asked Lawyer Jobe.
“Yes, I was arrested by Sergeant Njie M.A. on the 14th day of July and taken to Fajara Barracks. I was released five months later,” the witness said.
The witness said he did not know whether he was subjected to a board of inquiry at the level of the Fajara Barracks but said he was subjected to a board of inquiry at the NIA, where he gave a statement; that he cannot remember the number of statements he gave.
“Can you tell this honourable Court-Martial why you were released?” said Lawyer Jobe.
“I don’t know,” the witness said.
“Can you tell the Court what conditions were attached for your release and to give evidence in Court?” asked Lawyer Jobe.
At this point, Lawyer A N Yusuf objected to the question referring to it as a leading question. He argued that the question is suggesting that the witness has mentioned that before that there was a condition attached to his release and will testify before the court. He urged the court to dismiss the question.
Lawyer Sheriff K. Jobe in his counter argument said in cross-examination, the cross-examiner is allowed to ask a leading question that is within the knowledge of the witness; that the witness does not have to say something for him to be cross-examined on it. He further argued that the cross-examiner can ask questions that the witness has not mentioned; that there is nothing in law that prevents the witness from answering leading questions and that the objection lacks merit. The Court overruled the question and allowed the objection. The Court held that the question is supposing that the witness has mentioned in Court that there was a condition attached to his release.
The witness still in cross examination said the meeting he attended, was only were the 11th accused person was present; that apart from that meeting he attended, he has never discussed treasonable issues with the accused persons.