Defence queries prosecution witness

charles margai 06

CHARLES MARGAI

Defence Council Charles Margai Tuesday argued at the
Special Court over the reliability of the fourth
prosecution witness during cross-examinations. Counsel
Margai based his inconsistency to the fact that the
witness statements to that of his oral testimony are
not compatible.

The Counsel who is representing the
3rd indictee Allieu Kondewa cited that the witness was
very emphatic in his denial. He stated that the
witness first statement of January 19, 2003 he said he
was Sector Kamajor commander. But under
cross-examination by defence counsel Margai the
witness told the court, ” I didn’t say that. I said I
was sent to the section chief.”

Another inconsistency
Counsel Margai tried to establish was the statement
the witness made in which he quoted Hinga Norman as
saying that all four houses should be spared. The
fourth witness categorically told the court under
cross-examination that he said three houses. The
witness in responding to another question said openly
that certain portion of his statement should not be
credited to him, as he never said so. His response to
Counsel Margai’s question made the latter to ask, “how
did that portion came into the statement, it is a
cause for the prosecution”?

After a legal argument
between the prosecutors, the defence and the Bar,
Justice Bankole Thompson told the defence counsel that
the “statement was not made under oath before this
court.”  Counsel Margai responded saying, ” that where
one could impeach a witness, such could only be done
in relative of the statement on oath.” He went on,
“that is the inconsistency, and this witness could be
impeached.”

During cross-examination by Hinga Norman’s
standby counsel Wesley Hall; the witness agreed that
he was receiving the sum of Le10, 000 per day. The
witness also disclosed that he was not receiving the
amount on a daily basis, but received Le40, 000 to
Le300, 000 monthly for family assistance. The witness
under further cross-examination that each of his
family comprising of twelve is receiving the sum of
Le2, 000 per day.

He told the defence panel that he
had received so far the sum of Le600, 000. But the
witness further made a denial during cross-examination
from Charles Margai saying, ” I don’t know whether the
money I receive was payment.” He also emphasised, ” I
didn’t know I was going to talk about monetary
affairs, I was here to testify that is why I did not
talk about it.”  When told,
” you are not talking the whole truth,” the witness
responded, ” I can’t just answer a question like
that.”

However, the Presiding Judge, Justice Benjamin
Itoe requested the prosecution to make available the
original copy of the witness statement, following a
submission by Counsel Charles Marga. That the
prosecution had done.

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