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City of Banjul
Friday, February 23, 2024

Letter to Counsel Tah

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Dear my Learned Friend, Counsel T. Tah,

I pray this letter finds you well and in great spirits.

I write publicly to you because the issues I wish to address in this missive are indeed of great public concern and interest.

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Counsel, it was about a month ago, when I took notice of the fact that you were being vilified and demonized on social media and in various platforms both on and off social media. My conscience pricked me and I rose up to your defence. I did so passionately and with all my strength and might. I reiterated the fact that I do not know you personally and do not even believe that I have met you physically but your work and expertise in your field has spoken well of thee and these are facts that I know and are conversant with. Thus, I was ready to lay my life down to defend your integrity, professionalism and person because I know and believe that is what is expected of me as a person of conscience and character.

Counsel, you have again been thrust in the spotlight and in full glare of the Gambian public as you take on the lead role as chief prosecutor in one of the most contentious criminal matters of modern times in The Gambia. The case of The State Versus Babucarr Bob Keita has grappled the attention of almost every Gambian and its is being followed from all over the world with passionate and unabated interest.

The public, due to obvious reasons and because of the picture that was painted about your person in the public domain are mostly protesting your involvement at this stage of the trial. Some have even suggested that you were brought in because you were non- Gambian, to do the dirty job that the state couldn’t execute. Others have hinted that senior Gambian- born State Counsels refused to take part in a matter they believe is a deliberate witch-hunt against what many perceive to be an innocent man being framed by a vicious and bitter ex-wife and her family. Yet, others still believe that as Deputy- Director of Civil litigation, you have absolutely no business in a criminal matter especially at this stage of the proceedings.

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Counsel Tah, I am of a different view and do not agree with all the scenarios mentioned above.

Firstly, I believe that designations and roles within the Justice Ministry are just for effective administrative purposes alone and have absolutely no bearing on what sort of case, be it criminal or civil, that a Senior Counsel is allocated to. I see seasoned lawyers making such an argument but this argument is flawed. A lawyer within the state department is a lawyer that can litigate all matters be it criminal or civil. A great misconception within both legal and outside legal circles is that a state counsel who is administratively placed under the Civil department cannot take brief for a criminal matter and vice-versa.

Secondly, even though my position in this matter is of public knowledge and I too could have easily joined the bandwagon to denounce and decry your involvement at this stage of the proceedings in Bob Keita’s rape trial, I will not do so because as stated above I do not know of anything that is wrong in you being involved with the said matter nor can I speak from both ends of my mouth. I spoke of your competence and professionalism a month ago, which I still hold and believe to be true, therefore to now denounce you just because you are now involve in a matter I am passionately interested in, will make me idiot and someone without any conviction of thought; I can assure you that I am neither of both.

Counsel, I am one Individual who can attest to your brilliance, work- ethics, professionalism and dedication to your work and doing so without fear or favor, affection or ill will. Therefore I believe that there is no better person to take over this matter within the Ministry of Justice as I am convinced beyond a shadow of doubt that you will do the right thing.

As a lawyer myself, and being familiar with administrative handling of briefs within the justice ministry in The Gambia and outside The Gambia, I know as a matter of fact that the department itself is aware of how lousy the prosecution’s case has been up to this point and this it was imperative and pertinent that trained hands on Senior counsel with experience and skill be brought up to clean house and ensure that the good name and reputation of the Justice Ministry, which is obviously balancing on the line of thin thread is redeemed and protected.

Counsel Tah the whole country is watching and the world at large is paying attention to little Gambia. Our judicial architecture is being tested and tried; the very fabric of our Justice delivery system is being tested. You have been called in to ensure that faith and belief in our Justice delivery architecture is maintained and not be allowed to dissipate. Do the right thing!

You have an opportunity to show Gambians and all your critics what stuff you are made up of. I am convinced beyond a shadow of doubt that if there is any lawyer within the state department that can review that file, come to a conclusion that there are no evidence and or there are insufficient evidence to prosecute Bob Keita, you will not blink an eye before you match to the Attorney- General and tell him to his face that this matter be discontinued and or have a nolli entered by the state. I am convinced that only you can have the temerity to do such because from what I do know, you are a man of conscience that would rather let a hundred guilty men go free than to have an innocent man spend one day in jail and a crime he did not commit.

Counsel, as a lawyer and a father, which I know you also are or will be soon, as an Individual who have been the victim of malicious false allegations and ferociously evil conspiracy which I know you are also all too familiar with as you have been subjected to same; I implore you to do the right thing for I know you are a man of integrity and great wisdom.

If you feel, and are convicted beyond measure that indeed Bob is guilty of the alleged offense, then by all means prosecute him with all you’ve got but in doing so, please ensure that at all times, his right to fair hearing is sacrosanct and must be respected by all but most especially by the Ministry of Justice. The dispensation of Justice must be impartial, honest, fair, true and must be seen by all no matter what end of the spectrum we are.

I continue to have great faith in you and I continue to believe in your professionalism and ethical dispensation of your work without fear or favor, affection or ill-will.

I remain yours sincerely,

Melville Robertson Roberts Esq.

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