State Counsel cannot object to document admission-Lawyer Camara

By Dawda Faye

Representing Fatoumata Jahumpa-Ceesay who was charged with interfering with a witness along with Yankuba Touray, Lawyer Lamin Camara yesterday May 20th 2019, told the High Court in Banjul before Justice Amina Saho-Ceesay that State Counsel A.M. Yusuf could not object to a document which was in the custody of the state. This followed the objection by the state counsel when Counsel Sissoho applied to tender a printout by Africel of a conversation made between Alagie Kanyi, the first prosecution witness and Yankuba Touray.

Alagie Kanyi

Lawyer Camara argued that the document sought to be tendered was attached to the indictment filed by the state. He submitted that the document was important and relevant for the determination of the charges against the accused persons. He went on to say that he found it difficult to understand the merit of the document attached to the indictment. He stated that the defence could tender a photocopy of the document if the state did not tender it. He further argued that serving the document on the defence was a tacit intention of the prosecution to rely on it. He then urged the court to admit the document.

In his objection, State Counsel Yusuf told the court that the witness was not the maker and the author of the document, noting that it was not addressed to the witness. He submitted that the document should be tendered through the author, urging the court to call the proper person through whom the document should be tendered.

Counsel Sissoho disagreed with him. He said there was no application before the court and asked the court to overrule the objection. He argued that the document was that of the witness, since it was a printout of the conversation between the witness and Yankuba, and the telephone number of the witness appeared on the document. He said that the document was important, arguing further that the state counsel did not cite any law to support his opposition. He therefore urged the court to admit the document.

The presiding judge ruled that the witness had confirmed his telephone number on the document, adding that the said document was relevant. She overruled the objection made by the prosecution and admitted the document.

Under cross-examination by Counsel Sissoho, the witness said that he could not remember that the second call he made to Yankuba was on the 7thJanuary, 2019. He said he called Yankuba to tell him that if he (the witness) was called by the TRRC, he would go. He narrated that he asked Yankuba about the captured people, noting that Yankuba told him that if those captured succeeded, they would have killed them, and that they should dance to their fuck in tune.

Mr. Kanyi testified that he could not remember how many calls he made to Yankuba on the 7th January, 2019. It was put to him that on the 7th January, 2019, he called Yankuba to get confirmation that he (Yankuba) would appear at the TRRC and he told him that he would appear. In response, he stated that he did not know. It was again put to him that he asked Yankuba whether he saw the proceedings at the TRRC on the TV and Yankuba told him that he was driving. He replied that he could not remember.  It was also put to him that he told Yankuba to call him back because his credit was running out.

At this juncture, the state counsel objected to the question, saying that Counsel Sissoho was putting words into the mouth of the witness but later withdrew his objection.

The witness said that he could not remember saying that his credit was running out. It was put to him that after few minutes, Yankuba called back, which he confirmed. He denied that Yankuba told him to relax and that Yankuba also told him that he would appear before the commission and he would also relax. He also denied that Yankuba told him to be truthful.

When it was put to him that during their conversation, Yankuba told him to appear before the commission, he denied it. Counsel Sissoho showed him a video and he confirmed that it was at the TRRC. Counsel Sissoho applied for the state counsel to provide the defence with the witness statements. The state counsel did not object to the application. The defence was provided with the statements.

One of the statements marked as exhibit ‘P 1’ was shown to the witness and he confirmed that it was his statement dated 7th March, 2019. Counsel Sissoho then applied to tender the said statement and the state counsel raised no objection. It was admitted by the court. He was again given another statement which was later marked as exhibit ‘P2’ dated 10thMarch, 2019, which he recognised and confirmed.

Counsel Sissoho also applied to tender the statement and no objection came from the state counsel. The statement was subsequently admitted by the court.

It was put to Mr. Kanyi that his statement on the 28th February, 2019, at the TRRC was different from the content of his statement he made on the 7th March, 2019. He said he did not know. When it was put to him that his statement dated 10th March, 2019, was also different from the one he made at the TRRC, he replied that he did not know. He was asked whether his statement dated 7th March, 2019, and the one dated 10th March, 2019, were not at variance. He said he did not know.

On behalf of Fatoumata Jahumpa-Ceesay, Counsel Lamin S. Camara took the witness to task and asked him similar questions asked by Counsel Sissoho.

Mr. Kanyi told the court that neither Yankuba Touray nor Fatoumata Jahumpa-Ceesay told him not to cooperate with the TRRC. He told the court that they never told him to conceal evidence and also never told him not to appear before the TRRC.

Sitting continues on the 29th May, 2019.


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