By Kemeseng Sanneh (KEXX)
In his cross examination of the witness Lawyer L. Camara made numerous references to his (Mustapha Jabbi’s) statement and evidence-in-chief in a bid to discredit the witness.
The witness told the court that he is literate in English. He said his statement was taken and wasn’t written by him. He testified that the statement was read to him and all he said was captured in the statement.
Lawyer Camara asked whether he heard everything in the court the previous day after the statement was read to him, and the witness said he thinks he heard everything.
The statement was shown to him and he confirmed the statement as the one written on his behalf during the investigation. Lawyer Camara applied for the statement to be tendered as defense exhibit and there was no objection. The presiding Judge admitted the statement which was marked DE5.
When the witness was asked what was the date of the statement he said it was the 23rd of January 2023. Lawyer Camara put to the witness that statement was not written on the 23rd of January 2023, and the witness said maybe the person who wrote it made a mistake.
Lawyer Camara put to the witness that he was discharged by this court on the 25th of January, and the witness answered positively. Lawyer Camara further put to the witness that as of 25th January, the only statement he gave is a cautionary statement, the witness replied that is possible
Lawyer Camara put it to the witness that some of the things he told the court in his evidence-in-chief the day before were not in his statement, but the witness disagreed, adding that he thinks everything is there as far as he can remember
“You told this court that the 5th accused introduced you to the 1st accused and he (Fabakary) told you this is the person who wants to overthrow Barrow’s government, but that is not in your statement,” Lawyer Camara asked.
“Yes, and I think it is in my statement because the government they want to overthrow is headed by Barrow and that’s why I said it that way,” the witness answered.
Lawyer Camara also put to the witness that he informed the court that Fabakary keeps calling him about the money he asked him for from his uncle to help him, and the witness after looking at the statement said he did not see it in the statement.
Lawyer Camara put it to the witness he told the court that after Sanna’s conversation with his uncle and the marabout in Mauritania, the 1st accused (Sanna) was asked to choose between three and Sanna turned around and said to you he wants to be a leader. The witness answered that he didn’t say ‘leader’ but ‘ruler’. But when shown the statement he acknowledged that it is not in his statement.
“You also told this court and I quote, “one-day Fabakary called me and informed me that Sanna and his people will have a meeting in Kafuta and should take them there,”. Is that contained in your statement? The witness answered that it is captured in his statement, Lawyer Camara asked him to show the court where that was captured in his statement.
Before the witness could answer the state counsel A.M Yusuf objected that Lawyer Camara’s question is immaterial as whether what the witness said in court is captured in his statement, while Lawyer Camara urged that it is material because the whole objective of cross-examination is to discredit the witness and section 201 and 202 of the Evidence Act is clear.
The presiding Judge overruled the objection but reminded Lawyer Camara that not all evidence given may be captured in the statement.
“Do you remember how many times you met the 1st and 5th accused persons,” Lawyer Camara asked.
“I can’t say the number of times I met them because they were too many,” the witness answered.
Lawyer Camara asked the witness whether he remembered being with Sanna and someone else, the witness replied that as it is in his statement, sometimes he met Sanna alone, sometimes with Jawara, and sometimes with other people. Lawyer Camara asked whether that is contained in his statement (exhibit DE 5) that sometimes he meets Sanna alone. The answered yes, that there was a day he went with Sanna Fadera alone to my uncle.
Lawyer Camara asked, “Was Fabakary not in the vehicle waiting for you when you went to meet your uncle,”. The witness answered “That was the 4th day I went there with Sanna alone. Lawyer Camara put to the witness that he told the court that when he arrived at Kafuta, Sanna told him to sit down and wait for them because they were going to a meeting. The answered no, rather Sanna told him to wait for them in the vehicle
Lawyer Camara asked about what happened on 25th January. In his response, the witness says he remembers 25th January which was the day he was discharged and he was charged along with Fabakary for concealment and conspiracy of treason.
He also admitted that he was remanded by the Banjul Magistrates’ Court on the 6th of January at the mile 2 central prison.
“I am therefore correct that from the 6th to 25th January you were part of the accused persons,” Lawyer asked.
“Yes,” the witness answered.
Lawyer Camara put to the witness that he made a statement denying his involvement in the coup plot completely, and the witness answered yes.
Lawyer Camara told the witness when he was released on 25th January 2023 he was still detained in protective custody, the witness answered positively that he was under protective custody. Lawyer Camara asked further how long he was under protective custody, and the witness answered that since the 25th of January to date.
Lawyer Camara asked if the witness was informed from whom they are protecting him, and the witness said he was informed that he was protected from any harm.
Lawyer Camara put to the witness that Sanna Fedara never told the marabout in Mauritania that he wants to be a head of state because according to his statement before Sanna could say that the man put his off down, the witness answered that Sanna have told him that but he is not the one who wrote his statement but was only speaking and someone was writing.
Lawyer Camara told the witness that he told the court that upon their arrival at Kafuta, he was sitting far away from Sanna Fadera, Gibiril Darboe, Ebrima Sannoh, and Fabakary and did not hear what they are discussing. The witness answered positively and this is why he didn’t mention anything about their meeting in his statement.
Cross-examination by Lawyer L. Darboe
Lawyer Darboe asked the witness to inform the court that on their famous journey to Kafuta what type of vehicle was used whether a taxi or private, the colour, the number of passengers, and the mark of the vehicle.
In his reply, the witness said the vehicle is private owned by himself, green in colour, and Mitsubishi Mark.
Lawyer Darboe asked about the sitting arrangement and where in Kafuta did he meet the second accused, and which compound, the witness said Sanna was sitting in front and Karamo on the left, and Ebrima on the right, but he did not know Kafuta to know the compound location but when coming from Brikama it is on the left.
The witness was asked how the second accused person identified the vehicle since that was the first time he saw the vehicle out of all the vehicles plying the road. The witness said the second accused was communicating with Sanna.
Lawyer Darboe put it to the witness that the meeting never took place and he never met or knew the second accused person, but the witness maintained that the meeting took place and he recognized and met him.