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Published On: Wed, Jun 12th, 2024

PW12 Testifies Alleged Murder Weapon Identified as Makarov pistol Type 

 

Major Bubacarr Bah (PW12) the ballistic expert at the Gambia Armed forces, continued with his cross examination by Defense Counsel Lamin J Darboe, in the alleged Murder at Sukuta Jabang against Ousainou and his Sister Amie Bojang telling the court that the alleged murder weapon was identified as a Makarov Pistol.

When asked by Counsel J Darboe about the origin of the pistol, he replied that the pistol (Exhibit P28) was a Makarov Pistol made in China. He highlighted that the brand of the pistol was invented by a Russian Engineer called Nikolay Makarov hence the Pistol was named after him. When asked how he knew that this particular pistol was from China, he responded with because it has a signature on the frame of the Pistol. When further asked if there was anything on it saying made in China, he replied with a no but the signature is as good as made in China.

Counsel J Darboe asked Major Bah how 

many ballistic examinations he had conducted in this matter to which he replied that he had conducted 2 ballistic examinations. When asked if he had conducted one in September 2023 he said yes and he had written a report as well. When asked about the serial number of the Pistol (Exhibit P28) he replied that he does not know.

When asked if they have this weapon in the armory of the Gambia Armed Forces Major Bah replied that he is not bound to say which weapon is available or not with the Gambia Armed Forces as by virtue of his oath he is not authorized to give out such information. Counsel further asked whether they have AK47s rifles in the armory of the Gambia Armed Forces to that Major Bah affirmatively replied with a yes they have as that is common knowledge.

Counsel J Darboe asked PW12 if he would be able to recognize that report when he sees it to that Major Bah said yes as he would be able to recognize it by the request reference number, the content of the report and the signature.

Counsel J Darboe then applied for DDP AM Yusuf to provide the report prepared by the witness in September 2023 and when DPP handed the report to Counsel J Darboe. Major Bah was asked to look at the report to see if it is the one that he had  prepared in September 2023, the witness confirmed that it is the same document.

Counsel J Darboe applied to tender in the ballistic examination report dated September 2023 as a defense exhibit and with no objections from the DPP and 2nd Defense Counsel, Justice Jaiteh admitted the report and marked it as exhibit D11.

Counsel J Darboe told Major Bah that the report had no actual date, as he further asked him if recalled when he made the report to that he said no he could not 

remember. When asked how long it took after receiving the request from the IGP to conduct the ballistic analysis report, Major responded that normally he does not directly receive reports, as the request is made to the CDS (Chief of defense staff ) and after the CDS checks and processes it then It would be given to him for ballistic examination and processes. 

When asked how long it took him to make the report on the cartridges given to him he replied that he cannot remember the duration. When further asked how long it would normally take him to analyze a report on a bullet he still replied that he cannot tell.

Major Bah was asked about who is the head of the Ballistic Examination Department at the Gambia Armed Forces to that he replied that there is no specific Department as the Ballistic Examination is under the directorate of Military Operations. He stated that he is a staff and Ballistic Officer under that unit. 

Counsel J Darboe asked Major Bah if he knew one Major Dacosta to which he said yes. When further asked who is the senior among the two of them he replied that he was a senior to Major Dacosta as he explained that he is his senior by both rank and service. Counsel J Darboe then put to the witness that by ranks he is not a senior to Dacosta as they are both Majors and Ballistic Officers to that Major Bah said all he can say is that he is Dacosta’s senior by rank and service.

When asked how he (witness) knew that this type of ammunitions are used in this market of Pistols he replied that I knew because he examined the ammunition and the pistol as well as both them together and that was how he found out that these bullets were used by the small Makarov Pistol. Counsel J Darboe then put to the witness that what he just said was a fabrication as the report dated September 2023 only dealt with the Cartridges as there was no gun at the time to that the witness said that is correct as the weapon was not found at the time which was why when the weapon was found he recalled back the Cartridges.

Counsel J Darboe asked Major Bah to look at the document and read paragraphs 1 and 2 to the court. After Major Bah read the paragraphs Counsel J Darboe asked him that in September 2023 when he wrote this report (exhibit D11) he did not see the gun, so how did he know that it was the market of this gun that was used to fire those bullets to that Major Bah said he knew because it is the Makarov Pistol that is used to fire the 9x19mm conventional cartridge bullets. He explained that these calibers of weapons are subjects to Soviet Union states and its allies. He further stated that if it was a pistol from NATO and ally countries the caliber would be 9×90 meters. He explained that this would show the court that these two countries produce guns.

When asked how many people he had apprehended in the Gambia with this Makarov pistol to that he said he had 

been conducting ballistic reports in the Gambia from 2006 to date as he had made over 400 ballistic reports over the years and the only ballistic request he got for the Makarov pistol was only for this case. Counsel further told him that the fact that this is the only Makarov pistol that he did a report on out of more than 400 ballistic examinations demonstrates that this is a weapon used exclusively by the security of the Gambia to that he replied that he does not know about that. When also asked if he had fired the gun before the Ballistic Examinations he responded that no he did not fire the gun in the Country as he did just aboard during his course he had fired more than 5000 weapons and did Ballistic Examinations on them including the Makarov Pistol. 

Counsel J Darboe asked Major Bah if the police forensic unit submitted to him the empty cartridges and the gun allegedly used to kill the police officers to that he said the request had been directed to him baring 3 discharge 9x18mm pistol cartridges and 1 live pistol cartridge also 9x18mm as he subsequently received another request baring a Makarov pistol. To that Counsel told him if he is telling the court that he received 4 cartridges from the IGP through the CDS to that he affirmatively said yes. 

Counsel J Darboe asked Major Bah to look at paragraph 3 in his report and read it to the court. After he read the report, Counsel J Darboe told him that so clearly he received only 3 Cartridges that is 1 live round and 2 empty Cartridges to that he said yes he received 1 live round and 3 empty Cartridges. Counsel Darboe further told him that in his paragraph he read to the court shows that he received only 3 that is 1 live round and 2 empty cartridges, Major Bah responded with a yes at the time. When asked If he had indicated in his report of September 2023 that there was a cartridge that was missing to that he replied with a no he didn’t because at the time he did not receive any other cartridge.

Counsel Darboe then put to the witness that the driving consideration necessitated his report dated September 2023 because he realized that three people were shot, 2 died and one was injured and his report was not tallying to that he said that is correct because in the ballistic request it was not indicated that this weapon was used to kill anyone as it was just shown that the weapon was a subject in an investigation.

When asked if he is telling the court that he does not know where the ammunition that is the empty casing and live round came from to that he said he just received them as part of investigation from the office of the CDS base on a request from the police but where they came from he does know. Counsel then told him that base on his own analysis, how many cartridges were fired from the gun to that he replied 3. When asked how that was determined, he said he examined the pistol and also the cartridges as he knew and found that those cartridges were not only fired but from the pistol.

Counsel J Darboe asked if he is certain that other than those 3 bullets no other bullet was fired from the pistol to that Major Bah said he does not know about that as all he knew is that the empty cartridges were fired from the pistol. Counsel asked if it is correct that the report dated 10th October 2023 was originally signed by Major Dacosta to that he replied with very correct it was signed by Major Dacosta. Counsel asked him why he removed Major Dacosta’s name and put his (Major Bah) to that he said he did not remove Major Dacosta‘s name, he just signed a copy for his records.

When further asked if he saw the record that Major Dacosta wrote, Major Bah replied with Major Dacosta did not write the report, as the report was written by him. When asked if he assigned Major Dacosta to sign on his behalf to that he replied that it is common practice and he authorized Dacosta to sign because they work together.

Counsel Darboe asked Major Bah that if he saw the report that Major Dacosta signed on his authority would he be able to recognize it to that he said yes.

Major Bah was asked to look at the document and tell the court if that was the report that he authorized Dacosta to sign on his behalf to that he replied that it was the same report. Counsel J Darboe then applied for the Ballistic report dated 10th October 2023 to be tendered into evidence and with no objection from DPP and 2nd Defense Counsel the Ballistic Report was admitted into evidence and marked as exhibit D12.

That was all Counsel Darboe had for the witness.Defense Counsel for the 2nd Accused O.Susso asked Major Bah if he does Forensic analysis to that he replied a yes.  When also asked if he would be 

able to tell the court whether an ascertainment was done to ascertain the user of the gun to that he replied no he 

would not be able to tell the user of the gun.

That was all Defense Counsel for the 2nd accused had for the witness. DPP AM Yusuf re-examined the witness as DPP asked to borrow exhibit D12 and asked the witness to look at the document and read paragraph 1 A and B after the witness read the paragraphs. 

DPP asked him to tell the court, why cartridge number A differs from B to that he replied that they are of the same caliber but different series hence the reason why the name is different. He explained that S96 meant Short series 96 whereas 380PMC meant precision made Cartridge.

DPP further asked him to read paragraph 5 and paragraph 6 after he did, DPP told him that by his report, how many bullets were fired to that he replied that it was 3 bullets that were fired. When he was also asked how many bullets were analyzed to that he said in total 4 bullets were analyzed, 3 fired and 1 not fired

The witness was discharged,and the case was adjourned to the 25th of June 2024 at 2:15 for hearing of PW13.

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