Lawyers urge court to free NIA officials


By Baba Sillah Lawyers representing the former state intelligence officials have urged the judge presiding over the case to release their clients conditionally or unconditionally until the state files the case file and ready to prosecute the matter. The defense team led by barrister CE Mene   made this application yesterday when the state sought for another adjournment in the trial of the former NIA boss, Yankuba Badgie who is being tried alongside eight other officials on charges of conspiracy to commit felony and murder. When the case was called before Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara of the High Court in Banjul, the state counsel, O Danso who appeared with B Jeng informed the trial judge that they have written to the office of the Inspector General of Police to provide them with the case file but they are yet to receive any minute from the police regarding the case file. She argued that they needed the case file in order to study it so as to enable them to know whether to prosecute the case or not.  State prosecutor Danso consequently appealed to the court to grant her an adjournment again to enable them to file the bill of indictment before the next adjourned date. Lawyer Mene who appeared for Yankuba Badgie together with Emmanuel Chime and B Boye strongly objected to the state request for another adjournment in the matter. Barrister Mene contended that it is almost a month since the accused were arrested and arraigned before the court and no charges have been filed before the court despite the state was given one week to file the bill of indictment which he said aimed to   frustrate the expeditious trial of the matter. He however urged the court to consider the constitutional provision of fair trial or to make stringent warning if it is to adjourn the matter for expeditious trial of the matter citing Sections 19 Subsection [5] and 19 Subsection [3B] of the 1997 Constitution to back up his submission. Lawyers Emmanuel Chime, Ozuma and Diego Small associated themselves to the submission of their colleague on behalf of their clients but however emphasized the need for fair and speedy trial which they said their clients are entitled to. After listening to both parties, the trial judge granted an adjournment but however urged the state counsel to liaise with the police to file the case file before adjourning the case to March 20. Justice Sillah-Camara further ordered the state to provide counsel to the remaining accused persons who are not represented by a lawyer through Legal Aids Agency. Yankuba Badgie the former director of NIA, Louise Gomez, the deputy, Saikou Omar Jeng, director of operations, Haruna Suso, Yusupha Jammeh, Lamin Lang Sanyang, Tamba Masireh, Lamin Darboe and Babucarr Sallah are alleged to have conspired among themselves and took part in the murder of Mr Solo Sandeng.]]>