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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Suspected PIU shooter’s case goes to minitrial

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By Bruce Asemota

The High Court in Banjul presided over by Justice Ebrima Jaiteh yesterday commenced a mini-trial to determine the veracity of the cautionary and voluntary statements of Ousainou Bojang, the 1st accused in the shooting of PIU officers, taken at the Anti-Crime office in Banjulinding.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, DPP A.M.Yusuf, applied to tender the statements to avoid a repetition of a mini-trial, a suggestion welcomed by the defence lawyers and the trial judge asked the DPP to tender Bojang’s voluntary statements which the DPP said were 16 documents.

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Lawyer Lamin J.Darbo however informed the court that they object to the admission of voluntary statements  and the accused person indicated he did not agree to the charges preferred against him.

After hearing the counsel’s submission, the trial judge then admitted into evidence some voluntary statements of the accused.

Two voluntary statements of murder charge were admitted, three voluntary statements of attempted murder charge were admitted, whilst one voluntary statement of assault causing grievous bodily harm was admitted. Another three voluntary statements of the prohibition of act of terrorism were admitted too.

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Justice Jaiteh then commenced the mini-trial and one Ebou Sowe, a police officer attached to the Anti-Crime Unit, opened testimony.

He told the court that he recognized Ousainou Bojang when he was brought to the Anti-Crime Unit in Banjulinding on the 14th September, 2023.

The witness disclosed that Bojang was brought as the principal suspect in the shooting incident at the Sukuta-Jabang traffic light junction in which two PIU officers lost their lives and a third one, Ansy Jawo, terribly injured.

The witness recalled that on the 14, 15, and 23 September, 2023, the first accused Bojang was subjected to investigation in relation to the shooting incident and was interrogated during which he confessed to have been responsible. He said the accused person’s confession led to the arrest of the 2nd accused person, Amie Bojang.

The witness said at about 15:00 hours on the 14 September, 2023 he obtained cautionary statements from the 1st accused in the presence of an independent witness and that before obtaining his cautionary statements, he read the cautionary wordings to the accused and also informed him that he has a right to make his own statement but the accused asked him to write his statement.

The witness said the accused narrated his statement in Wollof language and he wrote it in English language.

“After writing, I translated it to him and gave him the statement, thereafter he thumb-printed it”, he said.

Hearing continues on 5 February.  

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