By Bruce Asemota
Two men, Moses Ukweni and Kemo Korteh, were yesterday freed by Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the High Court in Banjul.
The matter involving the two suspects was expected to proceed when the court was notified that there were no witnesses and the state counsel was absent while the defence counsel, Patience Chandria, was present.
The court was in receipt of a letter from State Counsel Saihou Ceesay asking for an adjournment on the ground that the state was having difficulty in securing witnesses.
Defence Counsel Chandria objected to the application for an adjournment on the ground that the state was not ready and willing to prosecute the case and pointed out to the court that the accused were held in custody for over seven months without trial.
She argued that their continuous detention without the prosecution calling a single witness to commence the trial was a fundamental breach of their constitutional right to be tried within a reasonable time and urged the court to strike out the case and discharge the accused persons until such a time that the state is ready to prosecute them.
In his ruling, the judge noted that accused persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
He agreed with the defence counsel that the continuous detention of the men for over seven months without trial was a fundamental breach of their constitutional right to be tried within a reasonable time and consequently refused the application for an adjournment and discharged the suspects forthwith from remanded custody.