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Published On: Wed, Jan 31st, 2024

PW1 Commences Voir Dire Trial

Ebou Sowe (PW1) a police officer at the Anti-Crime Unit Commence as the first state witness in the Voir Dire (Mini Trial) in the case of Ousainou and Amie Bojang following the allegations made by defense Counsel Lamin J Darboe that Ousainou’s voluntary statements were taken while he was drugged and beaten at the Anti-Crime Unit.

When the case was called in Court before Justice Jaiteh for the commencement of the Voir Dire (Mini Trial), DPP A.M Yusuf asked for the court’s approval to address the issue of tendering the statements before starting the Voir Dire.

Justice Jaiteh after some considerations decided to prioritize dealing with the admission of the documents before proceeding with the Voire Dire, emphasizing that all defence counsels had consented to restoring the main trial in order to address the issue of the documents.

DPP A.M. Yusuf asked Police Officer Ebou Sowe, that he had obtained various voluntary statements of various charges against the first accused so if he sees it would he be able to identify it and how, to which he responded with a yes he can through his Police Number, handwriting and signature.

The documents were then passed to him for identification to which he identified the documents as the same ones that he had obtained.

A.M. Yusuf applied for the voluntary statement of the accused obtained during the investigation to be tendered into evidence.

Counsel J Darboe lawyer for the first accused looked at the documents, and indicated that there are documents where the accused agreed to the charges against him while others showed that he disagreed to the charges so Counsel Darboe highlighted that he objected to the documents that the first accused agreed to the charges but doesn’t object to the ones that he disagreed to.

Following the arguments, Justice Jaiteh ruled to admit the documents that the accused had disagreed to into evidence as Exhibit P2 for the voluntary statement on the charge of murder, Exhibit P3 for the voluntary statement on the charge of attempted murder, Exhibit P4 for the voluntary statement on the charge of assault causing grievous bodily harm, Exhibit P5 A,B,C for the voluntary statement on the charges of prohibition of act of terrorism whilst the documents where the accused agreed to the charges would be determined in the Voir Dire.

At this point, the main trial was suspended, and the voir dire commenced. The witness, Ebou Sowe, took an Oath and gave his testimony that he recognized Ousainou Bojang as the principal suspect in the shooting incident that resulted in the death of two male police officers and left a female officer in critical condition battling for her life.

He narrated how the 14th of September was the second day in detention for the first accused where he was subjected to investigation in relation to the shooting incident. He highlighted that the accused was interrogated by a panel to which he confessed to being responsible for the shooting and led the investigators to the crime scene as well as his escape route after killing those officers. He further said that the confession of the first accused led to the arrest of the second accused (Amie Bojang).

PW1 further expressed there was no independent witness at the time that the cautionary statement was taken from the first accused as it was late in the night.

He (PW1) also highlighted on how before writing this statement he read the cautionary wordings to him (Ousainou Bojang) that “he need not to say anything unless he wish and anything he said will be taken into writing and used as evidence” he expressed that even though the first accused understood English as he is a literate the wording was translated in Wolof as his choice of language.

PW1 explained how he asked the first accused to write his own statement if he wish but the accused indicated that he was fine with Sowe (PW1) writing the statement for him, the statement was then read to him and also given to him to read after that he thumb printed and then Sowe endorsed the statement with his details as well as his name and Police Number.

DPP A.M Yusuf further asked PW1 about the accused’s general condition at the time that the statement was being obtained to which he (PW1) responded that the accused was in sound condition.

“Was he drugged,” A.M. Yusuf pressed on. At that point, Counsel J Darboe objected to the question, arguing that the nature of the question was leading the witness. The presiding Judge intervened and asked A.M. Yusuf to rephrase the question.

The Court was then adjourned to the 5th of February 2024 at 2:15pm for continuation of the Voir Dire (Mini Trial).

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