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City of Banjul
Monday, September 21, 2020

Detained suspected drug dealers ‘mercilessly beaten’

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Cross examining narcotics officer Lamin Senghore in a trial-within-a-trial, Singatey said: “The accused persons were kept over two weeks because of the injuries on their bodies and the ill-health of the first accused which you were trying to hide and thereby denied them bail.” 

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Adama Conateh, 38, Paul Gomes 38 and Yusupha Jatta 24, have been standing trial since last November on three charges of conspiracy to commit an offence, possession of prohibited drugs for purpose of trafficking and dealing in prohibited drugs. They are accused of being found in possession of 2g, 900mg of cocaine, a prohibited drug. They pleaded not guilty.

In June, their lawyer reported to the court that his clients were “severely brutalised” while their cautionary and voluntary statements were being obtained and asked for the court to go into voir dire (trial within a trial) before proceeding with the main trial. 

During cross-examination, Singhatey asked the witness: “Is it not correct that the accused persons were detained for a long period of time because of the injuries they sustained after you mercilessly beat them?”  In reply, the narcotics officer said: “After I carried out my responsibilities, I did not have any more contact with the accused.”

When the lawyer suggested whether it was correct that Mr Conateh was taken to the State Guard clinic for treatment after he was beaten, Mr Senghore said he did not know. 

“It is correct that you only obtained voluntary and cautionary statements of the first and the second accused after five days because you had to give them time to heal,” Lawyer Singhatey further quizzed but Mr Senghore said: “That is not correct. The accused persons were under investigations.”

When Singhatey asked him: “It is correct that you did not grant any of the accused bail immediately they were charged because of the conditions they were in after the beating.” Mr Senghore replied: “I have no authority to grant bail to the accused.”

The three men have since been granted bail. The trial resumes October 2.

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