Alleged MFDC Rebels’ Objection Overruled

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Banjul Magistrates’ Court, presided over by Magistrate B.Y. Camara, on Thursday overruled the objection raised by the third and eighth accused persons in the trial of the nine suspected MDFC rebels.

The two suspects, Nuha Jammeh and Abdou Salam Jammeh, earlier objected to the tendering of their cautionary statements on the grounds that they were obtained under duress.

Delivering the ruling, Magistrate Camara elucidated that if the prosecution attempted to tender cautionary statements and it was objected to by the accused on the grounds that it was obtained under duress, it became the duty of the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the intended confessional statements were made voluntarily.

He said that if such an allegation is raised, it was the duty of the tribunal to weigh up the evidence, adding that both the prosecution and the accused must convince the court of the evidence presented before it.

Magistrate Camara further stated that the prosecution witnesses were all cross-examined by the accused persons, just as the accused persons were in turn cross-examined by the prosecution.

He said that during cross-examination by the prosecution, the third accused person, Nuha Jammeh, admitted that he spoke the truth at the time of giving his statement. He further said that the eighth accused, Abdou Salam Jammeh, claimed that he was tortured at the time of making the statement at the NIA but failed to show the court any indications on his body.

He said claims by the accused persons had to be corroborated for the court to be convinced of the veracity of any assertion, noting that such was lacking from the evidence of the accused persons.

He said that the court was satisfied that the prosecution had proven their case on the voir-dire trial and therefore admitted the cautionary statements in court as exhibits.

The case was then adjourned to 23rd January 2008. 

Author: By Modou Sanyang & Bakary Samateh
Source: The Point