Thursday, October 17, 2019

Defence Closes Case At Court-Martial


By Kebba Secka

The defence at the court-martial of two soldiers closed their case at Yundum Barracks yesterday, 11th March 2019, after fifth defence witness DW5, Abibatou Jallow ended her testimony.

She explained how she transcribed the recorded audio of DW1, Sulaiman S Badjie, against Lt Y. Jallow and others who offered him (DW1) to be a state witness like one of the prosecution’s witnesses, Dinno Sanneh. DW1 Badjie during his testimony before the General Court martial threatened to reveal recorded audio of an offer to be a state witness. Jallow, a transcriber at the computer department of the judiciary in Banjul was the final defence witness in the matter of the ongoing trial of Sulaiman S Badjie and Private L. Kujabi in connection to a WhatsApp group believed to have been created to overthrow the government of the day.

When the case was called before a panel of senior military officers guided by a Judge Advocate Zainab Alami Jawara, AM Yusuf appeared for the state while counsel O. Suso with Lt Abdoulie Conteh, Major Basirou Sarr and two others represented the accused persons. Defence counsel in continuing his defense asked DW5 Jallow how she transcribed the audio. In her reply, DW5 said she was assigned by the judicial secretary to transcribe an audio from the Legal Aid which was already in a CD disk. According to her, the transcription was done with the help of a court interpreter who interpreted the messages which were in local language to the transcriber. “What is the name of the interpreter,” asked defence counsel. Witness said the name is Sulaiman K Saidy and further stated that if she is shown the transcribed documents, she would be able to identify it. At this juncture, O. Suso applied to show the witness the transcribed recorded audio and asked the witness to read out to the court paragraph 22 of the same document. Witness could be heard reading the following messages that Lt Jallow and his fellows induced Sulaiman S Badjie while in detention at Yundum Camp to be a state witness: “It is the Law that empowers the state. If the state wants, even if you have done something, state can pardon you. They (state) can accuse you, they can accuse a lot of people and decide to pardon them. Now, the ways things are, like the way Capt. Njie told you in case there is evidence. So, we want to offer you to be a state witness. It is an offer, so you can have your normal life back, you continue your job. I do not know whether you understand,” DW5 read out. “Yes, I am hearing you very well,” replied Badjie in the transcribed audio. According to the reading of the transcriber, DW5 in the same paragraph, Lt Y Jallow further told Badjie: “Just like Dinno Sanneh did (being a state witness) but it is not a force, like I said. If you like, you do it, it is up to you. There is no force on you, so, that is what I have, I think I am clear, ” concluded DW5 on her testimony in quotation of paragraph 22.

Defence counsel applied to tender the document for evidence and there was no objection from the prosecution. The document was admitted and marked as Exhibit D3.

Defence counsel had closed his case and both the prosecution and its opposition have been given one week each to file in their written addresses for adoption.

It could be recalled that Lance Corporal Sulaiman S Badjie and Private Lamin Kujabi are standing trial on charges of mutiny, incitement to mutiny and endeavour to persuade members of the GAF to take part in mutiny. They all denied the charges. Case adjourned till the 2nd of April for final adoption of addresses at 10am.

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