By Kebba Jeffang
Batch Kinteh, a narcotic officer stationed at Wellingara police station, testified as fourth prosecution witness (PW4) in the ongoing ‘obstruction’ trial of Sheikh Cham, who alleged having been tortured by personnel of the Drug Law Enforcement Agency (DLEA).
When the case was called before Magistrate Kijera on Monday, 26th October, 2015, M. Jallow appeared for the DLEA whilst lawyer Banjugu announced his representation of the accused person.
Testifying in court, Kinteh said he recognized the accused person and he could recall the incident which occurred on the 19th March this year. He said he was part of a team of narcotic officers led by NCA3, who is the first prosecution witness (PW1), to act on a tip off which they had received. He said they were to mount an operation on ‘Obama Strasser’, a place in Lamin, regarding some suspicious drug activities there.
“On our arrival, we were there for about 30 minutes after which we saw two men coming towards the same ‘Strasser’. We approached them and NCA2 Adama Bah pulled out his warrant card to show them that we are officers on mission. The other person complied and nothing was found on him. The other one later known to be Sheikh Cham (the accused) refused to comply. So he was arrested and taken to Wellingara station,” said PW4.
The witness adduced under cross examination that the accused obstructed their mission by refusing to comply with them to conduct a search on him. He said the witness alerted the neighborhood by shouting. He said his arrest was not due to his shouts but his refusal to comply to be searched.
When asked whether it was instantaneous between the accused person’s refusal to comply and his arrest, the witness responded that he could not recall that.
“Was there any time wasted between the accused person’s refusal to comply and his arrest?” asked the defence counsel. PW4 replied in the positive, adding “time was wasted on the side of the accused person.”
At this point, the case was adjourned to Wednesday, 4th November, 2015 for continuation of cross examination by the defence counsel.