By Rohey Jadama
Mr. Lamin Cham, a police officer attached to Brufut Police Intervention Unit (PIU) has Monday 21st November, 2016 testified as the fourth prosecution witness (PW4) in the ongoing trial of 14 supporters of the United Democratic Party before Justice Otaba of the Special Criminal Division of the Banjul High Court.
The accused persons are Bakary Jammeh, Kaddy Samateh, a lactating mother of a four months old baby, Lele Bojang, Alkali Sanneh, Yaya Fatty, Muhammed Singhateh, Kemo Touray, Bakary Marong, Buba Mass, Alagie Saidykhan, Tombong Njie, Modou Sarr, Sheriff Suma, and Lamin Dampha.
They are being tried on seven counts of ‘Conspiracy to commit felony’, ’Unlawful Assembly’, ‘Riot’, ‘Incitement of violence’, ‘Interfering with a vehicle’, ‘Holding a possession without a permit’, and disobeying an order to disperse, to which they all pleaded not guilty to.
Lawyer Hawa Sisay-Sabally and Yassin Seneghore, announced their representation of the accused persons, while A. Yakubu, B. Sanneh and L. Jarju appeared for the state.
PW4 told the court that he recognized the accused persons in the dock. He further told the court that they were the people arrested on the 9 May, 2016 at the Iceman junction.
He further told the court that the accused persons were obstructing the traffic along the Banjul-Serrekunda highway.
“We were given an instruction by our Officer Commanding Superintendent Saine that there is a large group of people coming from Banjul obstructing the highway. We took our riot equipment and left the barracks for Iceman junction were we met them”, said Officer Cham.
He said their officer commanding told them to leave the place and go to their lawful business which they failed to do. He added that they started insulting and they received instruction from their commander to effect arrest on them.
He said some of them were arrested and taken to the Kanifing PIU for further police action. He further told the court that the traffic was congested.
When asked by prosecutor Jarjue what the reaction of the public in the area was he the witness responded that they were insulting and insulting and stoning. Asked further who were stoning he responded that it was the rioters who were stoning. However, Prosecutor Jarjue further asked the witness what was the reaction of the people.
Before the witness could answer, Lawyer Sisay-Sabally interjected and objected to the question. She argued that the witness did not give any distinction between the rioters and the general public. This prompted prosecutor Jarju to withdraw his question.
He further asked the witness whether there were other people at the junction apart from the accused persons . The witness responded in the positive, adding that it is a public area. When asked what their reaction was, the witness said he cannot remember because he was focusing on his duty that took him at the scene.
Under cross-examination Lawyer Sisay-Sabally put it to the witness that there is no place called Banjul-Serrekunda highway. The witness responded he said along the Banjul-Serrekunda highway but that he did not say there is a place called Banjul-Serrekunda highway.
At this stage the case was adjourned till Thursday 24 November, 2016 at 4pm for continuation of Cross-examination.