By Mamadou Dem
Principal Magistrate Isatou Janneh-Njie of the lower Court inBanjul last Friday 18th August, 2017 discharged and acquitted Sergeant Babucarr Njie of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF).
Sergeant Njie was arrested on the 10th of February by ECOMIC Soldiers when he attempted to enter the King Fahad Mosque in Banjul with a pistol at a time when President Adama Barrow was observing congregational prayer (Juma).
According to the particulars of offence Babucarr Njie on the 10th of February, 2017 in the city of Banjul, Republic of the Gambia, was found armed with a Helwan Pistol with eight life rounds without lawful occasion in such a manner as to cause terror to members of the public, thereby committed an offence.
Upon arraignment before the said court, he pleaded not guilty as charged and was granted bail in the sum of D75,000.00 with two Gambian sureties to swear to affidavit of means and surrender their National Identities to the registrar of the court.
During the course of the trial, Njie’s attorney, Sheriff Kumba Jobe submitted that both voluntary and cautionary statements obtained from his client were obtained under duress; thereby prompting the court to enter into a trial within trial in order to determine the voluntariness of the statements.
Upon closure of prosecution case in the trial within trial, Magistrate Janneh quashed the statements and marked them as rejected as they were involuntarily obtained.
In order to establish the guilt of the accused person in the main trial, the prosecution called five witnesses and tendered exhibits. The said witnesses were Inspector Jally MI Senghore of the Major Crime Unit, Gambia Police Force (GPF), Inspector Abdoulie Bojang, Ebrima Fatty Bubacarr Bah and Nfamara Kambi.
The trial Magistrate while delivering the ruling on the submission of no case answer by the defence, noted that allowing the accused to open his defence will tantamount to a breach of his Constitutional right as there is nothing against him warranting the court to order him to do so.