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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Judge threatens to report state lawyers to Legal Council

By Bruce Asemota

Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the High Court in Banjul has admonished state lawyers to be honest in their submission and not mislead the court.

Justice Jaiteh made this warning on Tuesday, 19th November, 2019 whilst presiding over a criminal matter transferred from the Brusubi Magistrates’ Court involving the Inspector General of Police and Ousman Jallow and Yerro Jallow who are charged with robbery.
The duo are accused of robbing one Babou Gaye in July at Old Yumdum.

Justice Jaiteh stated that the case was assigned to senior state counsel K. Tah and N.S Bangura and they appeared before his court on 14 October, 2019 and craved for an adjournment on the ground that the state was in the process of filing the bill of indictment in the matter.

Justice Jaiteh further stated that Counsel K.Tah submitted that before the next adjourned date i.e, 17th October, 2019, the bill of indictment would be served on the accused persons.

Justice Jaiteh disclosed that on the 17th October, 2019 Counsel K.Tah appeared in court and no bill of indictment was filed but sought for an adjournment which the court reluctantly granted on the grounds that if the State fails to proceed on the next adjourned date which is the 13th November, 2019, the matter would be struck out.

Justice Jaiteh revealed that on the 13th November, 2019 all the state counsels went on training and the matter could not proceed and was adjourned to the 19th November, 2019.
The presiding judge said on the 19th November, 2019 state counsel Ceesay appeared in court seeking for another adjournment on the grounds that the state is writing an opinion.
The judge, upon perusal of the case file, gave notice that the state counsel has misled the court when he submitted that they are in the process of filing their bill of indictment when in actual fact, the state has not even drafted any bill of indictment.

The judge was dissatisfied with the conduct of the state counsel in prosecuting the case particularly giving false information to the court.

He pointed out that the prosecution is not to persecute but to prosecute suspects and his court would not entertain any malicious prosecution.

“The heydays of malicious prosecution are gone, if the state fails to file an indictment, the matter shall be struck out for want of diligent prosecution” he said.

The judge warned State Counsel Ceesay and Tah not to mislead the court as it is a contemptuous offence, adding that he may report the matter to the General Legal Council for disciplinary action.

The matter was adjourned to 4 December, 2019.

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