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Published On: Tue, May 21st, 2024

PW8 Testifies Prints Found On Pistol Were Not good 

In the Sukuta-Jabang Traffic Lights shooting Incident,Francis Jatta (PW8) a Forensic Officer at the Gambia Police Force during his Cross Examination testified that the fingerprints found on the alleged murder weapon (Pistol) were not good.

The witness (PW8) was asked by 2nd Defense Counsel A.Sillah if any fingerprints or DNA matching were made to ascertain the user of the gun to that PW8 replied that they tried to see if they could get the fingerprints from the Pistol by putting the pistol in a foaming chamber to see whether there were any to which traces of prints were found on the handle of the gun but the prints were not good to be analyzed. He (PW8) also responded in regards to the DNA that none were found as the pistol was recovered after 10 days in an open ground, being exposed to rains and heat which were not favorable to DNA.

2nd Defense Counsel further asked him (PW8) what would he say to the assertion that this alleged pistol was used by a masked man who was trained in using pistols to that Francis Jatta (PW8) said he wouldn’t be able to ascertain that as he is not a military expert.

During Francis Jatta’s (PW8) Cross-Examination with 1st Defense Counsel J Darboe, he (PW8) was asked how and where he met the 1st Accused (Ousainou) to which he replied that it was on the 22nd of September 2023 at Sukuta when they went to pick the pistol he (the accused) was in a car with the investigation team.

When asked by Defense Counsel how he(PW8) found the pistol, he replied that It was in pieces, as the slide cover of the pistol was detached from the main body of the pistol. When further asked if the pistol was just found in two pieces, he said yes.

Counsel J Darboe inquired from the witness (PW8) that as a forensic expert does he think he should have put that pistol back together after it was recovered in pieces to which he (PW8) replied with a no, they did not assemble the pistol, as they arranged them separately in different boxes and also sent them separately in different boxes to the Army for analysis. He said that It was after the Army’s analysis that they (the Army) assembled the pistol together and brought it back to them (Forensic Team) along with a report.

Defense Counsel J Darboe asked him (PW8) whether they did not tell the Army not to assemble the pistol to that he (PW8) responded that there was an advice given to the Army not to assemble the pistol but base on their own rules they assembled it. He (PW8) was also asked about how many reports did the Army sent back to them to that he (PW8) said the Army sent back 2 separate reports, one report with the Pistol and another report with the ammunition.

At that point Counsel J Darboe requested for Exhibit P28 (Pistol) and asked PW8 to show the court which part of Exhibit P28 (Pistol) was separated from the pistol to which he (PW8) said that it was the slide cover of the pistol that was separated from the main body of the pistol. To that Defense Counsel put to PW8 that there is no slide in Exhibit P28 (pistol) to detach from the main pistol to that he (PW8) still maintained that there is a slide cover on Exhibit P28.

PW8 was also asked at the scene of the crime, when did he encounter ACP Patch Bah, ACP FaKebba Darboe, Thomas RJ Gomez and Commissioner Pateh Jallow to that he (PW8) said they found ACP Patch Bah, ACP FaKebba Darboe and Thomas RJ Gomez at the scene while Commissioner Pateh Jallow met them at the scene.

When further asked if there was any officer from ACU that was dealing with them (Forensic Team), he said yes there was Salia Gaye. Counsel Darboe enquired if he (PW8) had received any items from Salia Gaye, he (PW8) said yes, Salia was the one that recovered all the items that were collected from the accused person’s residence which included the black jeans, Haftan and 2 pairs of shoes.

Counsel J Darboe at this point told the witness that did not happen on the 13th, as what he is taking about is what the witness collected from Salia Gaye on the 13th of September 2023 to that the witness said when they arrived at the scene, they received 2 empty casings from the anti crime but not from their liaise officer on the ground. When asked who they received it from he said they received it from Ebou Sowe, who came with 2 or 3 officers and one of the officer’s name was Sarjo Ceesay.

Counsel J Darboe also asked the witness about his understanding of a live round to which the witness said a Live round is a bullet that can kill. He further elaborated that the difference is that a complete round is having all the components still attached that is the casing and then the round which is the bullet is what detaches when fired.

When asked about what happened to the vehicle that was packed near or at the scene of the crime he (PW8) said the vehicle was hit by a bullet which shattered the windshield, when further asked where the vehicle is, he (PW8) said on the day they went to the scene the vehicle was parked at the Sukuta police station but they requested for the vehicle to be brought back to the scene for reconstruction and after the reconstruction the vehicle was taken back to the Sukuta police station.

He (PW8) was also asked if they were able to determine the type of weapon that destroyed the windshield of that vehicle to which he (PW8) said he would not be able to determine the type of weapon used but he knew that it was hit by a bullet.

Counsel J Darboe told the witness that it was 3 bullets that were used on the police officers, 1 bullet on each of the police officers to that he (PW8) said he does not know as all he knows is that they recovered 3 empty casing.

Counsel J Darboe enquired from the witness if It was correct that there was also an unused bullet that is the live round to which he (PW8) replied with a yes. The witness was also asked that since he had reconstructed the scene he knew where the police officers were standing to that he (PW8) said they were not present at the scene so they cannot say for certain where the officers were standing, as they just reconstructed base on information given to them. To that Counsel J Darboe told the witness that is it correct that their reconstruction placed the officers at a particular location to that he (PW8) said that it correct.

Counsel J Darboe asked PW8 where was this vehicle located in relation to where these officers were to which he (PW8) responded that the two officers based on investigation fell on the road itself while the other one off the road close to where the car was parked.

The witness was also asked going by the 4 directions, Sukuta, Airport, Jabang and then turntable where was this vehicle parked to that he said the vehicle was parked close to the roundabout heading towards airport on the left hand side of the road. Counsel J Darboe asked the witness if he had made the sketch plan of the crime scene to which he (PW8) responded that no he did not make it as it was Edrissa who made the sketch he (PW8) was just there to supervise.

The witness was asked if he would be able to identify the sketch plan and how to which he said yes he would through the features like the restaurant and keys indicating all the directions.

Counsel Darboe then asked to see the report and also the sketch plan. After it was given to him he applied to tender the document called crime scene report produced by the crime scene management unit of the Gambia police force as an exhibit and with no objections from the DPP and 2nd Defense Counsel, Justice Jaiteh entered the document into evidence and marked as Exhibit D8.

Counsel Darboe asked the witness whether  Salia Gaye surrendered to him the smart mobile phone that he took from the 1st accused Person’s house to which the witness said he cannot remember receiving any smart phone from him (Salia) unless he (PW8) goes through the records.

Counsel J Darboe then put to the witness (PW8) that the only reason why that phone was not surrendered and kept away from this trial is because the phone clearly demonstrates that the 1st accused was never at the crime scene to which the witness (PW8) still maintains that he cannot recall a phone handed which was why he said unless he checks through the records.

That was all the counsel had for the witness so the court discharged the witness and 

the case was adjourned to the 27th of May 2024 at 2:15 for evidence in chief of PW9.

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