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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Ex-NIA officials break court boycott

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By Bruce Asemota

The former officials of the National Intelligence Agency standing trial for the murder of activist Solo Sandeng have ended their short protest of absenteeism yesterday. The accused appeared before Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara of the High Court in Banjul after some court sittings without their presence.

The detainees have refused to come to court on two previous sittings as a protest for the presiding judge to step aside (recuse) from the case.

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During last sitting, the detainees were absent from the court without reasons, which prompted the presiding judge to order the prisons officials to bring them to court.

However, at yesterday’s sitting, Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara informed that the court has received a motion filed on behalf of the accused persons for her to recuse herself.

Senior Counsel, Antouman A.B. Gaye told the court that the prosecution has not been served with the said notice on motion for recusal.

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Lawyer Gaye submitted that some defence counsels have withdrawn representation from the case.

He suggested that the court deals with application for the withdrawal first before the motion for recusal.

Lawyer C.E. Mene, counsel representing Yankuba Badjie, stated that the motion on notice for withdrawal has to be dealt with first before the motion for the recusal, adding that the lawyers continue to be the accused persons’ lawyers until the court grants them leave or permission to withdraw from the case.

Meanwhile, Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara indicated that the 1997 Constitution provides that the detainees be provided with legal representation.

She said since the accused persons are charged with capital offences, the court would give them time to engage the services of legal counsel and that since Babucarr Sallah, Tamba Masireh and Lamin Darboe are represented by the National Agency for Legal Aid, the court would adjourn the matter to enable them secure the services of legal counsel.

The matter was adjourned to 19th May.

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