Monday, October 2

Defence challenges prosecution witness

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Defence Counsel M. Conteh on the 22nd June, 2022, challenged Aminata Othman, the complainant in the criminal case involving Isatou Njie, who is charged with common assault, before Principal Magistrate Omar Jabang of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court. Counsel Conteh attempted to discredit and contradict the complainant under cross-examination.
When the case was called, Counsel Conteh applied for a stand down for thirty minutes because the lead defence counsel in the case was not present in court. The prosecuting officer, Chief Inspector Touray, told the court that they were not opposing the application made by the defence counsel for a stand down. He posited that the defence counsel could proceed with the cross-examination since she was present in court. Her application was granted by the court and the case was delayed for thirty minutes.

When the case resumed, Counsel Conteh asked the witness, Aminata Othman, under cross-examination, how her relation is like with the accused. In response, she stated that for the past two years that she stayed in the compound, it was cordial but became hostile later. She added that after the two years, the hostility began but she was welcomed at home by everyone. It was put to her that the relation was not cordial for the past year. “The last one year did not find me in the compound. It is eight years now the relation is not cordial,” she confirmed.

It was put to her that she waved at the accused when the accused put her children in her car at Marina School. She answered in the positive and further stated that her relation has not been cordial for the past eight years

“Why did you wave at the accused?” she was asked.

“I waved at her to see me so that I could get my kids. The accused never picked my kids. It is either me or the driver who picks the kids,” she answered.

She further asserted that she assumed that her kids would be safe with the accused because she is related to their father. It was put to her that she went to Westfield Clinic to complain, which she confirmed.

“Did your pain subside when you went to Westfield Clinic?” she was asked.

“I went to the clinic after I came from the police when I was suffering from headache,” she replied.

It was put to her that it was a mere fabrication that the car of the accused hit her, and this would have formed the basis of her complaint at Westfield Clinic. She responded that the car of the accused hit her while she was holding the hand of one of her kids and she fell down.

At this juncture, Haddy Dandeh-Jabbi, the lead counsel, appeared and apologised to the court for coming late. She then put it to the witness that there was an arrangement for the children to be with their father from Friday to Sunday evening but she denied it. “The kids will go on weekend upon the request of their father but there was no arrangement,” Mrs. Othman replied.

Hearing continues on the 27th June, 2022.