By Binta A Bah
Lawyer Lamin Camara representing one of the alleged coup plotters in the ongoing treason trial has told the High Court that his client, SI Fabakary Jawara, was beaten before his statements were obtained at the police headquarters in Banjul.
Camara made these claims while objecting to the tendering of Jawara’s statement by state witness ASP Sanusi Darboe, arguing that the statements were obtained in the absence of an independent witness and as such, not admissible.
“I submit that this statement according to my client was not voluntarily made by him,” Camara argued, further telling the court that his client had told him that the statements were taken in the presence of a soldier called Cpt. Kanuteh.
“My client said Kanuteh slapped him and held his hand leading to him losing a finger nail,” Camara said. He said his client’s consent was influenced during the recording of his statement to the point that he sustained injuries on his hands and his nail was completely removed and therefore he was compelled to write a statement.
In response, the state prosecutor Yusuf contested Lawyer Camara’s claim and argued that the statement was not recorded by anybody other than the accused and that the statements were obtained without any duress, adding that the assertion that the accused was beaten by Cpt Kanuteh is not before the court.
The court will rule on the issue of admissibility of the statement today.
Testifying earlier, ASP Sanusi Darboe said he was part of the joint investigation team assigned to look into the alleged coup plot involving the accused persons. He said he interacted with all the accused persons at the SIS before obtaining the statements of Corporal Sanna Fadera (alleged ring leader), Corporal Ebrima Sano, Corporal and Sub-inspector and finally Fabakary Jawara whose statement was
at the police headquarters.
ASP Darboe told the court how Jawara voluntarily signed his statements without being forced. However, he admitted there was no independent witness when the statement was being taken.