By Landing Ceesay
As the first prosecution witness, Ebou Sowe continued providing evidence in the voir dire (Trial within trial) of the Sukuta Jabang Traffic Lights murder case, he emphatically denied allegations that Ousainou Bojang, the accused perpetrator in the death of two Police Intervention Unit (PIU) Officers, was subjected to any form of physical abuse.
During the preceding court session, Sowe reassured the court that Ousainou Bojang had been in good health when providing his statement.
The trial within trial was initiated by Counsel Lamin J. Darboe, who represents Ousainou Bojang, the alleged perpetrator in the deaths of two Police Intervention Unit (PIU) Officers. Darboe raised concerns that his client’s statements were obtained under duress, involving drugging and physical abuse.
However, Sowe told the court that Ousainou Bojang (1st accused), was never beaten or drugged throughout his stay at the Police Anti Crime Unit from the 13th to the 23rd of September 2023.
“You remember obtaining statements from Ousainou Bojang on the 14th of September 2023. At what point did you start in contact with the accused person since the beginning of this case?” Director of Public Prosecution AM Yusuf asked Mr. Sowe.
“Since the very first day he was arrested on the 13th of September 2023,” Mr. Sowe told the court.
“From 13th to 23rd September 2023, did you ever beat him.?” DPP Yusuf asked the witness again.
Before Sowe could answer, Counsel LJ Darboe objected, stating the question was leading, prompting Justice Ebrima Jaiteh to permit the question, emphasizing the issue of being beaten as a contention in the voir dire.
“He (Ousainou Bojang) was never beaten,” the witness told the court.
Mr. Sowe also informed the court that there was no instance of Ousainou Bojang (1st accused) being administered any drugs by the members of the Police Anti-Crime Unit between September 13th and 23rd, 2023.
In response to questioning about whether he had procured a statement from Ousainou Bojang (1st accused) on dates other than the 13th and 14th of September 2023, the witness affirmed this and informed the court that he had obtained a statement from Ousainou Bojang around 1 pm.
“This statement was recorded around 13:00 hours. The same procedure was applied as of the 14th of September 2023. But this time in the presence of an independent witness named Alieu Cham,” Mr. Sowe told the court.
“At the time of obtaining this statement, what was the general condition of the accused person (Ousainou Bojang).-DPP Yusuf asked the witness
“He (Ousainou Bojang) was of sound health,” the witness told the court.
“From the 13th to 15th September 2023, while investigating this case, was the first accused beaten?” DPP Yusuf asked the witness.
“No, my lord, he (Ousainou Bojang) was never beaten,” the witness told the court.
“Have you administered any drug to him (Ousainou Bojang)?” DPP Yusuf asked.
“No, my lord,” Mr. Sowe responded to DPP Yusuf.
Mr. Sowe further asserted that Ousainou Bojang did not make any complaint to them during his time at the Police Anti-Crime Unit.
“On the 15th of September 2023, how did you obtain the voluntary statements from him?” DPP Yusuf asked the witness.
“I obtained voluntary statements on the charges of murder, attempted murder, assault causing grievous body harm, prohibition of act of terrorism. All the statements were obtained by applying the same procedure in the previous statements. Upon completion, the accused (Ousainou Bojang) thump printed all the voluntary statements. The independent witness was presented, and I equally signed as the recorder,” the witness told the court.
“What was his (Ousainou Bojang) general physical condition?” DPP Yusuf asked.
“He (Ousainou Bojang) was of sound health. Never was he beaten, my lord, on or before the entire process,” the witness told the court.
“Was he (Ousainou Bojang) drugged or administered a drug before obtaining these voluntary statements?” DPP Yusuf asked the witness.
“Never was he (Ousainou Bojang) drugged my lord, before during, and after the entire process,” the witness told the court.
“During the entire process of the investigation, how many times did you engage the first accused to obtain the cautionary and voluntary statements?” DPP Yusuf asked the witness.
The witness told the court that he engaged Ousainou Bojang eight times on the 13th, 14th, and 15th of September 2023.
The cautionary statements were handed over to the witness for identification, and he identified them as the statements he obtained from Ousainou Bojang on the 14th and 15th of September 2023.
The DPP Yusuf then applied to tender the documents into evidence, and the documents were admitted into evidence after the defence raised no objection to the admissibility of the documents.
The cautionary statements are marked as VD 1 and VD 2 respectively.
The DPP Yusuf also applied to tender 14 voluntary statements obtained from the accused (Ousainou Bojang) on the 15th of September 2023 after the witness identified them, the documents were admitted into evidence after the defense raised no objection to the admissibility of these documents.
The documents are marked as VD 3, VD, 4, VD 5, VD 6, VD 7, VD 8, VD 9, VD 10, VD 11, VD 12, VD 13, and VD 14.
“During the process of obtaining these statements, did you observe any kind of abnormality on the accused?” DPP Yusuf asked the witness.
However, Counsel LK Mboge objected to the question, arguing that the question is leading.
Hon. Justice Jaiteh then asked DPP Yusuf to rephrase the question.
However, the witness said he did not observe any abnormalities in Ousainou Bojang during the process of obtaining his cautionary and voluntary statements.
Counsel Lamin J. Darboe then took the floor to cross-examine the witness. The cross-examination could not be finished on time.
Hon. Justice Jaiteh then adjourned the case to Monday for a continuation of cross-examination by Counsel LJ Darboe.