By Landing Ceesay
Following the conclusion of the testimony from the First Prosecution Witness (PW1) in the voir dire (trial within a trial) of the Sukuta Jabang Traffic Lights murder case, the Prosecution called upon the Second Prosecution Witness (PW2) to take the stand. Alieu Cham, a Sukuta-based businessman, took the stand before Honorable Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the High Court of the Gambia.
Mr. Cham’s appearance followed the testimony of Police Investigator Ebou Sowe, who had presented the diary of the Police Anti-Crime Unit dated September 13, 2023.
Upon examination of the diary by the lawyers representing Ousainou Bojang (1st accused) and Amie Bojang (2nd accused), Counsel LK Mboge, representing the 2nd accused, sought to submit the station diary from the Police Anti-Crime Unit covering the period from September 13, 2023, to September 23, 2023.
“And I humbly apply for the photocopies of the said pages to be substituted to the original,” Counsel LK Mboge told the court.
In court proceedings, Counsel LK Mboge queried the witness regarding the presence of the Independent Witness, Alieu Cham, in the Station diary dated September 13, 2023.
Mr. Sowe informed the court that Alieu Cham’s name was not documented in the Station diary on that date.
“Would it be correct to say that all the civilians who are entering the Anti Crime Station are booked in the dairy?” Counsel LK Mboge asked the witness.
“That is not correct, my lord,” the witness told the court.
“Can you tell the court what Alieu Cham was doing at the Anti Crime Unit on the 15th of September 2023?” Counsel LK Mboge asked the witness.
“He (Alieu Cham) told me that he came for a mission, and on the 23rd of September 2023, he was contacted as I realized that part of the voluntary statement, precisely the prohibition of acts of terrorism, I mistakenly quoted the Criminal Code when it should have been the Anti-terrorism Act. Then Alieu Cham, being the same Independent Witness, was asked to come back, which was the reason for him coming back on the 23rd of September 2023,” the witness told the court.
When Counsel LK Mboge confronted the witness that he duplicated Ousainou Bojang’s voluntary statement, the witness denied it.
“Have you realized that the cautionary statement of the accused you obtained on the 14th of September without an independent witness was the same statement you copied on the 15th of September?” Counsel LK Mboge told the witness.
“I have never copied any statement,” the witness insisted.
Next, the court summoned Alieu Cham, the Independent Witness (PW2), to provide his testimony regarding the proceedings. Cham informed the court that he recognized both Ebou Sowe (PW1) and Ousainou Bojang (1st accused) from his visit to the Police Anti Crime Unit in September 2023.
“Am a businessman and I had an issue with my client, a white lady called Esther. She bought a car from me, which was in 2021. Then one Gambian man changed all the documents of the car to his name. And Esther took him to the Anti-Crime, and I was called as the car seller. That was the reason I was at the Anti-Crime,” Mr. Cham told the court.
Mr. Cham further told the court that while at the Anti-Crime sitting under a mango tree inside the Anti-Crime complex, waiting for the guy who called him there, Ebou Sowe found him sitting and informed him that they had a case and wanted an independent witness.
“I asked him how, and he explained to me that he needed to take someone’s statement. He said the fact that he did not know me and I didn’t know that person, I could be there voluntarily for him to take the statement,” Mr. Cham told the court.
The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) AM Yusuf then asked him whether the statement was taken or not.
Mr. Cham responded positively and went on to explain how the statement was obtained.
“I walked into the office, a few meters from where I was sitting. When I got inside, the person who invited me asked me to sit. When I sat, within 4 to 5 minutes, I saw they brought someone. They brought Ousainou (1st accused) in, I was sitting and we were facing each other. The person who brought me asked Ousainou whether he knew me, and Ousainou answered that he did not know me.
“He told Ousainou that he also doesn’t know me, and he brought me there to be both of their witnesses. The person who was about to write the statement was speaking with Ousainou in Wolof and sometimes Ousainou would respond in Mandinka, and they were speaking both languages,” Mr. Cham told the court.
Hon. Justice Jaiteh then adjourned the case to the 12th of February 2024 for continuation.