By Halimatou Ceesay
Senior counsel and lead prosecutor in the murder trial of Solo Sandeng involving former NIA officers, today fire back at the defence over the issue of additional witness filed by the prosecution.
Replying to the objection raised by Defence counsel E.E Chima for 1st and I. Jallow for the 3rd accused persons against the notice on additional witness, Counsel A.A.B Gaye said the objection is intangible.
Senior Counsel Gaye stated that, the Defence Counsel are attempting to help the presiding judge to prevent the prosecution from presenting its evidence in its entirety. Adding that last year October, the prosecution filed additional witness. “This is not the first time we have been filing notice on additional witnesses. There were 19 witnesses initially plus the additional witnesses we filed on the 29th January this year and there was no objections from the accused persons through their counsel,” said Counsel Gaye.
He further said “my lady it is my submission that the role of the prosecution is totally different from the role of the defence because of the mode of trial we use in this court to prove beyond reasonable doubt. The only way we can achieve that is by calling material witnesses and it is a much heavier burden than that of the defence,” Gaye explained.
Counsel Gaye said contrary to what the defence presented before the court, the court has no power to stop the prosecution from presenting their evidence. Adding that there is no limit to the number of witnesses that they are allowed to call.
“My lady is trite that in criminal case if the evidence of one witness is sufficient to secure conviction, there is no need for additional witnesses. However where the circumstances demand for the calling of many witnesses the prosecution is duty bound to call the witnesses, and I submit that the objection lacks merit and I urged the court to dismiss it,” he said.
Replying on points of law, E.E Chima has said that the prosecution by reference to the interpretation act ended up proving to the court that they are not entitled to more than one witness. He said section 3 subsection 3 under the interpretation act is emphatic unless there are contrary intentions and they base it on contrary intention.
“I am submitting that the cases cited by the prosecution are cases which were decided in the 18th century and I further submit that these are cases with persuasive effect and not authoritative effect. It will not be in the interest of justice to be calling so many witnesses,” he said.
Yankuba Badjie, Louis Gomez, former Deputy Director, Saikou Omar Jeng, former director of Operations, Haruna Susso, Yusupha Jammeh, Tamba Masireh, Lamin Darboe and Baboucarr Sallah, and Lamin Lang Sanyang are standing trial on 25 charges ranging from murder, causing grievous harm, accessory, conspiracy to commit felony, fraudulently preparing a death certificate, forgery, making document without authority, fabricating evidence, disobedience to statutory and abducting.
They all pleaded not guilty.
The case continues tomorrow for ruling.