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Sunday, March 3, 2024

I’m being tried for refusing to be state witness – Ex-NIA agent

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By Bruce Asemota

Baboucarr Sallah, the fourth accused person in the criminal trial involving the state against the former NIA chief Yankuba Badjie and six other colleagues has alleged that he was implicated and charged with the alleged offences because he refused to be used as a prosecution witness against his co-accused.

Sallah made this claim yesterday while giving evidence in his defence before Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara of the Banjul High Court.

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Sallah testified that while under detention at Mile 2 Prison, the prosecutors told him and Tamba Mansaray that they were not after the junior officials of the NIA but the senior officials and he should testify as a prosecution witness.

He said it was after their refusal to become prosecution witnesses that charges were pressed against them.

After giving his evidence-in-chief, the issue of who should cross-examine Sallah first arose. Barrister CE Mene representing Yankuba Badjie informed the court that since he had just testified and since there was nothing like a joint defence in the trial, it is the prosecution that should cross-examine the accused person before the other defence counsel.

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In her reply, Rachael Mendy, representing the prosecution team, argued that asking the prosecution to cross-examine the accused person makes a mockery of the criminal procedure.

She argued that it was the co-accused persons who should make the cross-examination before the prosecution.

But Mene disagreed and argued citing Section 221 of the Evidence Act.

He argued that unless the other accused persons do not have questions for the accused person, then the prosecution will cross-examine the accused person.

In her ruling, Justice Sillah-Camara said the adverse party is not only the prosecution and referred the contending counsel to Section 194 of the Evidence Act and declared that the co-accused persons should cross-examine first before the prosecution.

Hearing continues today.

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