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City of Banjul
Saturday, October 16, 2021

Jobarteh: I have right to speak in the absence of my lawyer

The matter was adjourned for continuation of cross- examination of state witness, former state counsel Anna Dibba by Borry Touray, lawyer for Mr Jobarteh but the case could not proceed due to the absence of the defence lawyer which prompted the state counsel, Maurice Agiah to lambast the defence lawyer for unnecessary absence and adjournment of the case on a series of occasions.

When the case was called yesterday, the magistrate handed a copy of a letter filed by counsel for Mr Jobarteh. After going through the contents of the letter, the state counsel stood up and said: “We have cited the letter filed by the counsel asking for an adjournment of the case. But we have not seen any reason for the absence of the defence counsel. We know that counsel was present on the last adjourned date and the adjournment was made at the insistence of the state. This case has suffered a series of adjournments all at the insistence of the defence even though our witness is always available in court in order to make progress.”

Mr Agiah urged the court to foreclose the cross-examination by the defence and discharge the witness if they failed to proceed with the cross-examination of the witness on the next adjourned date.

Mr Jobarteh at that point stood up to counter a submission made by the state counsel. He contended that as an accused, he has right to speak in the absence of his barrister. Magistrate Abeke however adjourned the matter while upholding the application made by the state counsel. Hearing resumes April 28.

 

By Baba Sillah

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