The Arrival Of The Alleged Coup plotters In Court.
By Landing Ceesay
The mobile phones of the people accused of plotting a coup have been presented to the court by the State in their treason case at the Gambia’s High Court, where Justice Basiru B.V.P Mahoney is the judge.
The treason trial involving four members of the Gambia Armed Forces and one member of the Gambia Police Force resumed today after a setback on the last adjourned date.
The Four (4) Soldiers and one (1) Police Officer are accused of an attempted alleged Coup and been charged with 5 counts, including treason.
The defendants standing trial are; Lance Corporal Sanna Fadera (1st accused) Private Officer, Gibril Darboe (2nd accused) Corporal Ebrima Sannoh (3rd accused), and Corporal Omar Njie (4th accused), Fabakary Jawara (5th accused) is the Police Officer charged alongside the Soldiers.
The panel of investigators discovered the mobiles of the accused persons during their investigation. This was revealed by ASP Jally M.I. Senghore in his testimony at the court on the last adjourned date.
In today’s hearing, ASP Senghore was asked to describe the mobile the investigative panel recovered from the 1st accused person (Sanna Fadera).
He said the panel got a dual sim card Itel simple phone from Sanna Fadera. The phone had two Africell Sim Cards in it. ASP Senghore recognized the phone as the one the panel took from the 1st accused (Sanna Fadera) when it was shown to him in court.
The phone was then tendered to the court by State Counsel L. Jarju as part of the prosecution evidence. The defense counsel did not oppose its application, so Justice Mahoney accepted the phone as evidence.
“Why did the panel recover these phones from the accused persons.?” State Counsel L. Jarju asked the witness.
“During the investigation, we found a text message on one phone between the 1st accused and one of the witnesses, Barra Touray (PW1). Barra Touray sent the message to the 1st accused saying “Forget about Njie, he is not a Soldier” ASP Senghore responded.
When asked which Njie PW1 (Barra Touray) was referring to, ASP Senghore told the court that PW1 was referring to Omar Njie (4th Accused).
“Did you find out why PW1 sent that message to the 1st accused.?” State Counsel L. Jarju asked ASP Senghore.
“During the investigation, we had an interview with PW1 (Barra Touray) and he said the reason why he sent that message is that he was asked to meet Njie (4th accused) but he was running away from him,” ASP Senghore told the court.
“Why was Barra Touray (PW1) supposed to meet with the 4th accused?” State Counsel, L. Jarju, asked.
“To see the operational plan,” ASP Senghore responded. He said the 1st accused (Sanna Fadera) used the phone the panel recovered from him to talk to other accused persons. The witness was then asked to describe the phone the panel got from the 2nd accused person (Gibril Darboe).He said the panel got a light green Tekno smartphone from the 2nd accused. The witness recognized the phone as the one the panel took from the 2nd accused person (Gibril Darboe) when it was shown to him in court. The defense counsel did not oppose its tender as evidence. Justice Mahoney then accepted it as evidence and marked it as exhibit P14.
When asked about the types of phones the panel recovered from the 3rd accused person (Ebrima Sannoh), ASP Senghore said one simple phone and one iPhone.He did not remember the mark of the simple phone. He said he could identify the phone if he was shown it. He also did not recall the kind of sim card the panel found in the phones.
The State counsel L. Jarju wanted to refresh the memory of the witness using a particular document.
Counsel J. Jobarteh for the 3rd accused person objected to it. He argued that the document in question is not the right one to refresh the memory of the witness.
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Counsel LS Camara for the 1st and 5th accused persons aligns himself with the submission of Counsel J. Jobarteh.
“My lord, This idea of refreshing memory is becoming regular. If the witness said he did not remember, the memory needs to be refreshed If the witness said I did not know, the memory needs to be refreshed,” Counsel LS Camara told the Court.
However, Justice Mahoney granted State Counsel L. Jarju the use of the said document to refresh the memory of the witness.
When asked to describe the phones recovered from the 4th Accused person (Omar Njie), ASP Senghore said the two phones recovered from the 4th accused are all Samsung phones and black. He said one is a Samsung simple phone while the other one is a Samsung smartphone.
The witness was shown the phones for identification, and he identified them as the ones they recovered from the 4th accused person.
The Counsel for the 4th accused, FF Jammeh, objected to the admission of the phones into evidence.
Counsel Jammeh argued that the other phone was not properly described before the court.
The state counsel argued that the witness sufficiently described the phones and sought the court to admit the phones into evidence.
In his ruling, Justice Mahoney said the witness did sufficiently describe the phones as Samsung phones and both black colors.
Justice Mahoney then admitted the phones into evidence as prosecution exhibits.
“You also said in your evidence in chief that you recovered two phones from the 5th accused person (Fabakary Jawara)?” State Counsel L. Jarju asked.
ASP Senghore responded affirmatively.
“What type of phones are they?” State Counsel L. Jarju asked.
“They are Samsung phones and the other one is black, but I can’t remember the color of the other one. One is a simple phone and the other one is a smartphone,” ASP Senghore responded.
He said the two phones were the ones they got from the 5th accused person when he saw them. The two phones were presented as prosecution evidence, and Justice Mahoney accepted them after the defense counsel did not object.
ASP Senghore said they also found the 1st accused person’s passport, flash drive, and wallet. He identified the passport of the 1st accused (Sanna Fadera) when he saw it. State Counsel L. Jarju tendered the passport to the court as evidence. The defense counsel did not object to its submission. Justice Mahoney admitted the passport of the 1st accused as a prosecution exhibit.
“Can you explain to the court the regimentation of accused persons based on their ranks?” State Counsel L. Jarju asked.
ASP Senghore told the Court that Fabakary Jawara (the 5th accused) is the most senior officer among the accused persons, that the second most senior officer among the accused persons is Gibril Darboe (the 2nd accused), and Omar Njie (4th accused) and Ebrima Sannoh (3rd accused) are next to Gibril Darboe. He went on to tell the court that Sanna Fadera (1st accused) is the most junior ranking officer among the accused persons.
ASP Senghore told the court that the most senior ranking officer is the one that can make command in terms of arranging other officers.
When asked whether the senior officers among the accused persons made any attempt to stop the alleged coup, ASP Senghore responded in the affirmative.
“The 5th accused (Fabakary Jawara) did indicate that he attempted stopping the 1st accused, but he could not,” ASP Senghore told the court.
ASP Senghore told the court the 4th accused (Omar Njie) informed the panel that when he was approached by the 1st accused (Sanna Fadera), he made it categorically clear that “Soldiers are not to be trusted.”
“When they (accused persons) are confronted about their meeting in Kafuta, the 1st and 2nd accused persons denied. However, the 3rd accused (Ebrima Sannoh) indicated that they had lunch together but not a meeting,” ASP Senghore told the court.
The case has been adjourned to Tuesday 18th April 2023 for continuation.