By: Alieu Jallow
Ebou Sowe, a police officer attached to the police anti-crime unit of the Gambia Police Force, told the high court that Ousainou Bojang, the first accused person in the ongoing murder trial related to the fatal police shooting at the Sukuta-Jabang-Jabang traffic light on 12th September 2023, was in a sound and healthy mind when his statement was taken on 14th September 2023. This statement came in response to allegations made by Counsel J Darboe, the defense counsel for Ousainou Bojang, claiming that his client was drugged and beaten by the police anti-crime unit, and that his statement was taken without an independent witness. This led to the court, presided over by Justice Ebrima Jaiteh, opening a Voir dire or mini-trial and suspending the main trial.
“He was in a sound and healthy mind when taking his statement,” Ebou Sowe asserted.
Sowe said that at 23:00 hours, he obtained a cautionary statement in the absence of an independent witness, mentioning that it was taken late at night. Sowe stated that before writing the statement, he read the cautionary statement to Ousainou Bojang and informed him that he did not need to say anything unless he wished to, and that anything he said would be taken down and used as evidence.
“I then informed him that he has the right to make his own statement if he so wishes, and he indicated that he would like me to write his statement. Therefore, he narrated his statement in Wolof, which I wrote in English. I then read, confirmed, and equally gave him the statement to read,” Sowe narrated.
The case resumes on February 5th, 2024, at 2:15 PM for the continuation of the hearing and cross-examination.