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Published On: Tue, Feb 6th, 2024

PW1 Continues Voir Dire Trial

Ebou Sowe (PW1) a police officer at the Anti-Crime Unit continued his testimony 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.

PC: Kexx News

Before Justice Jaiteh yesterday at the high Court DPP A.M Yusuf asked PW1 at what point did he(PW1) start to get in contact with the accused (Ousainou) since the beginning of this case to which he (PW1) responded that it was since the very first day that he (Ousainou) was arrested on 13th September 2023.

DPP A.M Yusuf further asked “from the 13th to 23rd September 2023 while investigating the accused (Ousainou) did you ever beat him” but Counsel Lamin J Darboe lawyer of the first accused along with L.K Mboge lawyer of the second accused both objected to the question claiming that it is leading the witness.

DPP A.M Yusuf did not agree as he highlighted that the “beating” was already on record in the Voir Dire so he should be allowed to ask the question after some consideration from Justice Jaiteh he was permitted to ask the question.

PW1 responded with “he was never beaten” DPP pressed on with on the 13th-23rd September 2023 was the accused person administered with any drug to which PW1 (Sowe) replied with never.

Sowe was also asked if it is true that apart from the statement of 14th September 2023 there was also a cautionary statement obtained on the 15th September 2023 to which he (Sowe) responded “very well, it was obtained”.

DPP A.M Yusuf asked how the statement was obtained on the 15th September 2023 to which Sowe replied that the statement was recorded around 13:00hrs. DPP also asked “how did you do it” and Sowe replied “ the same procedure as the 14th September 2023 was applied but this time in the presence of an Independent Witness named Alieu Cham”. DPP A.M Yusuf pressed on about the physical condition of the accused (Ousainou) when the statement was being recorded and also if he was at any point beaten or drugged and Sowe replied that the accused (Ousainou) was of sound health, he was neither beaten nor drugged.

PC: Kexx News

Sowe was also asked if the accused (Ousainou) complained of ill health to which he (Sowe) replied with “No my lord”. DPP Yusuf also asked “ On the 15th September 2023, you also obtained Voluntary statements from the 1st accused(Ousainou) how did you obtain them” to which Sowe responded “ I obtained Voluntary statements on the charges of Murder, contrary to Section 187, attempted Murder contrary to Section 200, Assault causing grievous bodily harm contrary to Section 214, and prohibition of act of Terrorism contrary to Section 3 Subsection 1(c) of the anti-terrorism act, all these statements were obtained applying the same procedure in the presence of the independent witness. After completion the accused submitted all the statements and thumb printed, the independent witness did the same. I signed as the recorder”.

Sowe was also asked again what was the physical condition of the accused person after the completion of the statement collecting procedure to which he replied that the accused was of sound condition. He was also asked if the witness was beaten or administered with any drug during that period, he (Sowe) also responded with “Never my lord, neither on, after or during the entire process”.

DPP Yusuf asked Sowe during the entire process of the investigation how many times did he (Sowe) engage the 1st Accused (Ousainou) on the purpose of obtaining this cautionary statements and Sowe replied that it was 3 times. When asked about the dates Sowe replied that the dates were on the 13th, 14th and 15th September 2023. When asked how many times he engaged the accused(Ousainou) on the purpose of obtaining Voluntary statements Sowe responded with “2 times my lord, on the 15th and 23rd September 2023.

When asked (Sowe) if he could identify the cautionary statements for 14th and 15th September 2023 and how, he replied with yes through his handwriting, police number and details that is his name and surname.

The statements were given to him for identification to which he said yes those were the cautionary statements he took.

A.M Yusuf applied for the 2 Cautionary statements dated 13th and 14th September 2023 to be tendered into evidence for the mini trial with no objections from both the 1st and 2nd accused lawyers Justice Jaiteh admitted the statements obtained on the 13th September 2023 as VD1 and that of 14th September 2023 as VD2.

Sowe was also asked if he would recognize the Voluntary Statements dated 15th September 2023 and how, he responded with yes through his details and signature when the statement was given to him for identification he replied that those were the statements he obtained on that particular day.

DPP Yusuf applied for the Voluntary statement to be tendered into evidence for the mini trial with no objections from both lawyers of the 2 accused persons. Justice Jaiteh admitted the voluntary statements obtained on 15th September 2023 as VD3 on charges of assault causing grievous bodily harm,VD4 grievous bodily harm, VD5 grievous bodily harm, VD6 charge of Murder, VD7 attempt to Murder, VD8 attempt to Murder, VD9 charge of Murder, VD10 charge of Murder, VD11 charge of Murder, VD12 Act of Terrorism, VD13 Act of Terrorism, VD14 Act of Terrorism.

DPP Yusuf asked Sowe whether during the process of obtaining the voluntary statements from the accused did he notice any abnormality from him(Ousainou) to which the 2nd accused lawyer objected highlighting that the term abnormality is trying to suggest answer for the witness. AM Yusuf reframed and asked “ did you observe anything on the accused” Sowe replied with “no”.

Counsel Darboe went on to cross-examine PW1 he first asked “is it correct that when the first accused was brought to the Anti-crime unit on the 13th September he was under police custody” Sowe responded with “yes that’s correct “.

Counsel Darboe asked Sowe if he recalled what time Ousainou was brought in on that day to which Sowe responded with a yes he was brought in around 20:00hrs, when asked (Sowe) if he was present when Ousainou was brought before the panel set up he (Sowe) replied with a yes he was present. When asked who were the other panel members present, he responded with “Chief Inspector Yorro Saidy, Inspector Ceesay, Inspector Jamanka and other police officers that I cannot recall their names”.

Counsel Darboe also inquired if Lamin Cham and Boto Keita were part of the panel to which Sowe responded with Yes Superintendent Cham and Boto Keita were part of the panel. When further asked if everyone present in that panel were either Security or Police Officers Sowe replied with a yes.

Counsel Darboe put forward to the witness that the first accused was being interrogated by security and police officers without an independent witness present to which Sowe replied with yes, the first interrogation there was no independent witness. Counsel Darboe further asked “ you said he confessed to the panel that he was the one that committed the crime at the Sukuta traffic lights” Sowe responded with “yes he did so “ Sowe was further asked if the accused was told by anyone in that room
Including himself that he (Ousainou) need not say anything to that panel and Sowe replied that he was always reminded that he can decide not to do so.

Counsel Darboe put forward to Sowe that “ with all your meticulousness you forgot to mention that in your evidence in chief in the Voir Dire the 1st accused was read his rights not to say anything” Sowe replied with “ I have always maintained that in my entire testimony that the suspect had always been reminded not to say anything” counsel Darboe further asked him about who among the panel told him (Ousainou) that he had the right not to say anything Sowe replied that he personally informed the accused.

Counsel Darboe said to Sowe “ I am putting it to you that in the presents of inspectors, chief inspectors and Superintendent that it would be out of place for a junior Inspector like Yourself to assume that role”. Sowe replied with “I am not a mere Inspector in the panel, those inspectors mostly play supervising roles”.

Court is adjourned to Today 6th February 2024 for continuation of Voir Dire cross- examination at 2:15 PM.

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