Prosecutor failed to bring remaining witnesses against Gurmessa Ayano et al (Feb 10/2017 hearing)

Prosecutor witnesses hearing completed
It is to be recalled that the court did adjourn for the prosecutor to bring the last two witnesses for Feb 10th hearing. The prosecutor claimed that one of the potential witnesses who were to testify against the second detainee (Dejene Taffa) could not be found in the address he gave to the police. The prosecutor claimed that the words the potential witness recorded earlier at police investigation center should be registered as admissible testimonial as per Article 145 of the criminal procedural law.
Regarding the second potential witness (Angefo Abdella) who was to testify against the third detainee (Addisu Bullalla), court asked the prosecutor why he failed to bring him to the court. Prosecutor requested for more days to find the witness. Lawyer Abduljubar Hassen representing the second and third detainees lauded his objection claiming that the requests of the prosecutor are not appropriate, reasoning
1st. this hearing was said to be the last one regarding witness hearing
2nd. prosecutor was told that it was not appropriate to fail to present witnesses repeatedly
3rd. Even though Article 145 of the criminal code declares that the witness given to police to be considered as testimonial it also denies consideration whenever the words given by the witness to police and to the court varies under sub article two of the article. In addition, this witness does not appear before court which violates the right of the detainee to know and cross examine according to Article 20(4) of the constitution. The court’s responsibility to raise questions to the witness is not also fulfilled. Hence, the evidence should not be considered.
4th the fact that the witness gave a false address can be a reason to assume that his words are not trustworthy.
The 2nd defendant (Dejene Taffa) added the following concerns:
– The one reason for the need for witnesses to appear before court is to see if their words are trustworthy. In this case, this witness has not appeared in the court. Hence, his words should not be considered as witness testimonial.
– It contradicts with article 9(4) of the International Human Rights Conviction which Ethiopia has adopted.
– The fact that the witness escapes from shouldering his responsibility shows the words are not trustworthy.
Mentioning the above points, Dejene requested the court to give him an un-delayed justice.
Examining petitions from both sides, judges gave verdict that the witness’s words would be considered only if he appears to court and the request for more days by the prosecutor should not be allowed.
After the verdict, the prosecutor claimed that it has additional CD evidences and asked for another hearing. Hence, hearing adjourned for Feb 17, 2017.

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