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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

NIA boss & Co lawyers protest over trial delay

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By Baba Sillah Lawyers representing the former NIA boss Yankuba Badgie and eight others yesterday urged the court to strike out the case or release their clients on bail until the state is ready to proceed with the matter. Protesting before Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara of the High Court in Banjul yesterday, Barristers CE Mene, Moses Richard, Emmanuel E Cheme, Dayo Small, P Gomez and S Kennedy argued that since there is no proper charges before the court the only thing the court could do is to strike out the case against their clients or grant them bail until proper charges are instituted before the court. The defence’s argument came after the state again applied for another adjournment of the matter. The state prosecutors however contended that they have filed a bill of information but they are yet to file the summary of evidence and they are seeking for adjournment to enable them to file the summary of evidence before the next adjourned date. State lawyers comprising MB Abubacarr, O Danso and B Jeng further submitted that they needed time in order to enable them to call Pathologist and experts from abroad in order to examine the corpse of the late Solo Sandeng and urged the court to grant their prayers. The defence team however protested that since there is no proper indictment before the court, the only thing the court could do is to exercise its discretion under Section 19 Subsection [5] of the 1997 Constitution regarding the state application for adjournment to release the accused persons on bail or strike out the matter pending the state readiness to prosecute the matter. However the state submitted that if the defence wants their client to be released on bail, they should come formally with the matter of bail but to strike out the matter at this point is untenable since the state has filed a bill of information and urged the court to discountenance the defence application. Replying on points of law, the defence team submitted that Section 19 Subsection [5] of the Constitution which gives power to the court does not required formal application for bail while declaring the appearance of their clients in court as legally void. “You cannot bring the accused persons in court where there is nothing to answer and we urged Your Lordship to exercise her discretion based on Section 19 Subsection [5] of the Constitution in favor of the accused persons,” defence lawyers submitted while urging the court to protect the fundamental rights of their client to a fair and speedy trial. After listening keenly to both parties, the trial judge ruled that she took into consideration bearing in mind that the accused persons are still in custody but since the state hasn’t filed a bill of information she could have invoke Section 24 of the 1997 Constitution to strikeout the case. Justice Sillah-Camara however urged the state to file their summary of evidence before finally adjourning the case to March 27 for mentioning.]]>

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