By Baba Sillah
The Magistrates Court in Banjul yesterday gave a final warning to the former National Assembly Member for Banjul North, Abdoulie Saine that should he fail to appear in court on the next adjourned date, the court will foreclose his case for defence and proceed to judgment.
The trial magistrate made the declaration following a bitter argument between the police prosecutor and the defence lawyer on whether to grant adjournment in favour of the defence or to proceed with the case for the defence despite the absence of the accused due to illness.
Barrister Moses Richards, counsel for Mr Saine appealed to the court to grant him an adjournment due to the ill-health of his client who could not make it to court to open his defence.
Richards in his application argued that his client is committed and ready to tell his side of the story by opening his defence, contending that the delay is not their wish but the constraints they are facing are beyond human control.
“The accused is a responsible man and will not run away to defend himself in this case. The prosecution’s application is premature and lacks merit and I therefore urge the court to use its discretion in favour of the accused and dismiss the prosecution’s application,” Richards appealed.
Reacting to defence application, the police prosecutor Mballow slammed the application as “inexcusable and lacked merit” since there was no evidence before the court to justify that the accused was sick.
Prosecutor Mballow contended that the accused is not ready to open his defense and urged the court to compel the accused to open his defense or foreclose his case.
After listening to both parties, the trial magistrate, Tracey Williams, gave an ultimatum to defense to either proceed with their defense or will foreclose their case on 5 March if they fail to open their defense.
Mr Saine is being accused of inciting violence by uttering a statement on ‘WhatsApp’ using derogative remarks against an entire Mandingo tribe, charges he denied.