By Yankuba Jallow
Lawyer Emmanuel Chime, the attorney for Yankuba Badjie, the former Director of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) has told the Banjul High Court presided over by Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara that his client was threatened and beaten at the time his cautionary and voluntary statements were obtained.
“I am submitting that the accused person, Yankuba Badjie, has been threatened and was beaten whilst under detention when the purported statements were made and he did not make them,” Lawyer Chime said.
Lawyer Chime made this statement whilst objecting to the cautionary and voluntary statement of the first accused person, Yankuba Badjie. According to the twenty-second prosecution witness (PW22), Detective Sergeant Alagie K. Manneh, he was the one who recorded the cautionary and voluntary statements of Yankuba Badjie and Baboucar Sallah (the 4th accused person) sometime in February 2017. Manneh told the Court that he had then been in Major Crime Unit now known as Serious Crime Unit for six (6) years.
“I remembered taking cautionary statements from two accused persons; Yankuba Badjie and Baboucar Sallah herein present before this Court. This was on the 21st February 2017 and the Statement of Yankuba Badjie was taken at the Brusubi Police Station in the presence of an independent witness named Fabakary Kinteh. The voluntary statement was taken at the Gambia Police Force Headquarters in Banjul,” Manneh adduced.
He said at the time the statements were taken, the atmosphere was conducive; the environment was friendly and comfortable.
“I was present myself with the team leader Superintendent Gomez, ASP Bakary Darboe and the Independent Witness joined us later. Yankuba wasn’t promised anything and he asked me to record the statement on his behalf and it was read over to him, he confirmed and signed and I endorsed it; he wasn’t induced and there was no force used,” he said.
Lawyer Chime objected to the admissibility of the documents. In his submission, Chime said he wasn’t served with a copy of the statements sought to be tendered and that they were taken by surprise.
“It is a principle of law that nobody should be taken by surprise especially on issues of the criminal trial. The accused persons are facing charges on capital offences,” he argued.
Barrister Chime argued that the prosecution’s attempt to tender the document without serving the defence will tantamount to a miscarriage of justice. He also argued that the prosecution’s failure to serve the defence the statements contravenes the provision of Section 24(3)(c) of the Constitution, which provides that any person charged with a criminal offence should be provided with adequate time and facility to prepare for their defence.
Meanwhile, Defence Lawyers Ibrahim Jallow and Saikou Fatty continued their cross-examination of PW21, Lamin Jobarteh.
Jobarteh was shown his statement at the police to identify and read some paragraphs before the Court. After reading his statement, he was asked by Lawyer Ibrahim Jallow why there are inconsistencies in his evidence before the court and his statement made at the police. The witness replied that all his said is the truth.
“In your police statement you mentioned that Lamin Bojang and Dawda Ndour didn’t come together and now testifying before the Court you said Lamin Bojang also was known as Kambakal came with Dawda Ndour; why the inconsistency because from police statement it is clear that Dawda and Lamin did not come together?” asked Lawyer Jallow.
“That is incorrect,” the witness replied.
“When did you record the statement at the police?” asked Lawyer Jallow.
“22nd March 2017” replied the witness.
“When did you make the statement?” asked Lawyer Jallow.
“22nd February 2017” answered the witness.
“Is it correct that there was a one-month interval between the date you made and recorded the statement?” asked Jallow.
“That is incorrect” re-joined the Jobarteh.
The case was adjourned till today at 1 pm for the continuation of hearing.