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GAMBIA: Police Officers Testify In 'Homo' Case

in GAMBIA, 20/07/2012

Prosecution in the alleged homosexual trial against 18 accused persons charged with indecent act on MondayJuly 16th, 2012 called two police officers to testify in support of its case. The two witnesses are Cpl 3247 Dampha (PW5) and Cpl 2552 Abdoulie Dibba as (PW6) all attached at the Kotu Police.

In his testimony, Cpl 3247 Ebrima Dampha PW5 told the court that on the April 6th,2012 he was on a night patrol around the Kotu area all of a sudden the team leader Cpl Tamba received a phone call from Deputy Commissionerof Police Landing Bojang that the team have to report back to the Kotu Police Station.

According to him, upon arrival at the said station, he met Commissioner Bojang and some officers and they were briefed that there were people alleged to be homosexuals organising a programme behind Duplex Night Club and they were told to gather at Dream Park and wait for instruction while other officers entered the venue.

He further adduced that instruction later came for them to enter the bar and when they jumped off their vehicle and entered the bar, they saw people running in different directions. He said they apprehended some of them and took them to the Kotu Police Station for further investigation but cannot remember how many were apprehended adding that he could recall that one of the accused persons by the name Alieu Sarr was putting on a female dress.

During cross-examination by defence counsel, the witness told the court when they were going to the scene they saw people running out of the venue and they then chased them. He also identified female dress as tight at the chest and wide at the bottom.

Cpl 2552 Abdoulie Dibba (PW6) attached to the Kotu CID office, in his testimony, revealed that on 6th April he was at his office and received information from the OC Superintendent Mbye that a group of homosexuals are having a party at the Elite Fitness Bar and upon receiving the information he went PW1 Abdoulie Sowe and Pa Sowe PW2 on a surveillance to the venue.

He said upon arrival at the place they entered the back door, which was the only door open at the time and he heard drums and saw the accused wearing female clothes with hand bags on them walking like ladies.

PW6 added that then PW1 Abdoulie Sowe started taking pictures, he was approached by one of the accused by the name Kebba Sarr and told not to take pictures. PW6 said he heard the accused, Kebba Sarr telling Abdoulie Sowe (PW1) "We don't invite any photographer or media because the state doesn't allow it". At that juncture, the defence counsel objected to that statement on the grounds that it is hearsay evidence and the objection was sustained.

PW6 then arrested Kebba Sarr and the rest started to run. He revealed that at the venue they recovered seven bags and three digital cameras two black one red. He said he cannot remember the content but can remember that they were labelled 01, 04, 06, 2012. He added that 41 pictures were received and two from one of the suspects by the name Ebsin which makes it 43 pictures.

The witness disclosed that he kept all exhibits at the police station and is having the keys.At that juncture the prosecution led by ASP Jammeh applied to tender 43 pictures and three cameras but the defence counsel LS Camara and his colleagues objected to the application on the grounds that the pictures have no adequate foundation and are secondary exhibit. He urged the presiding magistrate to look into Section 22 of the Evidence Act.

Defence counsel Badou Conteh told the court that the pictures have no reflection of the scene and one of the cameras is a private camera. ASP Jammeh for the prosecution however replied that the objections raised by the defence are baseless, that the camera of the female accused couldn't be private since it was used at a public place.

At that juncture the case was adjourned to 1st August 2012 for hearing.

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