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City of Banjul
Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Investigator testifies in Briton trial, as state takes over case

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Mrs Buchanan is being tried by state prosecutors on two counts of offences relating to judicial proceedings, charges she denied. 

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According to the charge sheet on 15th of January, 2014 Mrs Buchanan went to the office of Justice Emmanuel  Amadi, the presiding judge of the Special Criminal Court and forcefully banged on his door hurling insults at him and his orderly.

She is also charged with writing a letter to Justice Amadi in November, 2013 quoting executive directives to deal with her case when Justice Amadi was in fact handling the case.

Prior to the testimony of the state witness, when the case was called, Moses Richards, counsel for the accused, applied to the court for the prosecution to provide defence with the necessary witness statements they intended to call as well as a photocopy of the charge sheet to enable them prepare their defence.

Replying to that application, the state chief prosecutor, Barkum, countered that the state was not duty bound to give the said statements as required by the defence. He added that they would provide the defence with the statements and the charge sheet but noted that the accused had already taken her plea on the charges and her constitutional right was not been violated. 

However, the defence contended that the constitution guaranteed the right of the accused person to be given adequate time and facility to prepare for her defence arguing that expedience of trial cannot be done at the expense of justice. He added that they did not know where the witness might take his evidence from so as to enable them to cros -examine him. 

The trial magistrate upheld the states submission adding that the requests of the defence were matters of privilege and not rights and asked the state witness to give evidence.

Sergeant Yoro Saidy first prosecution witness in is evidence, told the court that he is a police officer attached to major crime unit at police headquarters in Banjul as an investigator. He said on April 16, 2014 he was commanded by his boss to investigate a letter written by the accused to Justice Amadi of the High Court and also reported incident at the judge’s office. 

He said he obtained cautionary and voluntary statements from Mrs Buchanan in the presence of an independent witness, Basirou Drammeh. He said he enquired from the accused person whether she was ready to give a statement and she responded in the affirmative adding that he told the accused that she may not say anything unless she wished but anything she said would be used as evidence. 

The DPP subsequently tendered the letters as exhibits. Hearing continues.

 

By Baba Sillah

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