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City of Banjul
Sunday, May 9, 2021

High Court orders prisons officers to explain absence of NIA detainees

By Bruce Asemota

Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara of the High Court in Banjul has ordered the prisons officers in charge of bringing the detained NIA officials to appear before her to explain why they have refused to bring the detainees for the past two court sittings.

The judge made this order yesterday whilst presiding over the criminal trial involving the state against the detained ex-officials of the NIA.

The order was premised on a ruling in connection with the manner the detained ex-officials have showed to the court.

The court observed that the detainees have refused to appear for the last court sittings in protest that the presiding judge recuse herself.

The last time the detainees appeared before the court, they were all dressed in red T-shirts and red masks and had refused to go to the dock as a protest for the judge’s recusal.

The unhealthy relations between the accused persons and the court have caused the withdrawal of legal representations of some accused persons in the trial.

The first being Barrister Emmanuel Chime, who withdrew representation for the 1st accused person, Yankuba Badjie and now the National Agency for Legal Aid (NALA) representing Babucar Sallah, Lamin Darboe and Tamba Masireh and lawyers Uxoma Achigbue and Dago Small representing Haruna Susso and Lamin Lang Sanyang, who informed the court yesterday of their withdrawal of representations for their clients.

Lawyer Dago Small informed the court that he and lawyer Uxoma Achigbue visited Haruna Susso and Lamin Lang Sanyang at the prisons and had lengthy discussions with them but the accused persons said even if they come to court, they would not enter the dock.

Barrister Dago Small informed the court that he was withdrawing his representation as the legal representing of both Haruna Susso and Lamin Lang Sanyang.

 Meanwhile, Lawyer Baldeh of NALA informed the court that when he visited Lamin Darboe, Babucarr Sallah and Tamba Masireh at Mile 2 Prisons, he was informed by the accused persons that they no longer require their services.

The lawyer furnished the court with the undertaking made by the accused persons and it was tendered before the court.

On his part, the lead prosecuting counsel, Lawyer Antouman A.B Gaye urged the court to order the prisons officers who bring the detainees to court to explain reasons for their failure to bring them since efforts made by the defence lawyers in trying to convince the accused persons to come to court have proven futile.

Meanwhile, Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara adjourned the case to 5 May, 2021 for prisons officers to explain why they have not been bringing them to court.

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