Darboe, Sanneh ask court to strike out convictions

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By Mafugi Ceesay

The Supreme Court of The Gambia is set to rule on the criminal appeal involving Amadou Sanneh, the Minister of Trade who was pardoned by President Adama Barrow 30 January 2017.
The issue for determination before the Supreme Court is whether presidential pardon can quash conviction and sentence.

Minister Sanneh, the national treasurer of the UDP, was sentenced to five years imprisonment in December 2013 for his role in supporting an asylum application. He was released through presidential pardon.
When the case was called yesterday the Counsel MB Abubakar represented the state whereas Rachel Mendy represented the appellant, Mr Sanneh.

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Counsel Abubakar in his submission before the Supreme Court, said a presidential pardon can wipe out both conviction and sentence and the appellant is seeking for the court to strike out the matter
Lawyer Mendy in her response told the court that they have conceded to the position of the State and urged the court to strike out the suit. She further inclined herself with the submission of State Counsel Abubakar that presidential pardon can wipe out criminal conviction and sentence.
Later in the trial, after consulation with her client, Mendy changed position and submitted that the court should rule on the matter base on law.

“We would still concede to the briefs of the state but we will maintain our position (as stated in our briefs),” Mendy told the court.
Also, following questions by the Justices of the Supreme Court, Mendy told the court: ‘I will withdraw my position and we will proceed with the briefs.’
The Supreme Court judges in their holding brought two positions that if the appellant concedes and wants the matter to be struck out of court, then the court would strike it out; but if the appellant wants the court to rule on the issue whether presidential pardon could wipe out conviction and sentence or not, then she should come formally.

The appellants lawyer chose the second option which is for the court to rule on whether presidential pardon could wipe out conviction and sentence or not. The matter was adjourned to a date to be communicated to both parties.
Readers could recall that The Gambia Court of Appeal on 2 November 2017, quashed Ousainou Darboe and 18 others’ appeal on a similar issue.
Meanwhile, the appeal of Mr Darboe who is also seeking for similar redress will be heard today before the supreme Court. Neneh Cham represent him.

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