Lang Tombong Tamba, former chief of defence staff, brigadier General Omar Bun Mbye, Colonel Lamin BO Badjie, Lt Colonel Kawsu Camara alias ‘Bombardier’, former deputy inspector general of police, Modou Gaye, Gibril Ngorr Secka and Abdoulie Joof were accused by state prosecutors of procuring arms and ammunition, equipment and mercenaries from Guinea Conakry and diverse places to stage a coup d’etat and overthrow the democratically-elected government of The Gambia.
They denied any wrong doing throughout the trial and were sentenced to death by the high court after being found guilty on all counts in 2010.
Dissatisfied with the decision of the high court, the accused filed an appeal before The Gambia court of appeal and the supreme court but their appeal was dismissed for lack of merit. Still not satisfied with the decision of the aforementioned courts, their lawyer, Sheriff Tambadou filed a notice of appeal before the supreme court asking for it to revisit its decision dated 19 October 2012 and review the case. The director of public prosecution, Hadi Saleh Bakun argued that Lang Tombong and his co-accused have no grounds to appeal and the matter was adjourned to yesterday by the judges of the supreme court for ruling as to whether the case should be reviewed or not.
Ruling on review of the case
Delivering the ruling on the review of the case, the chief justice enunciated that the applicants cited exceptional circumstances for the case to be reviewed but have failed to express exceptional circumstances regarding the supreme court rules for the review to be undertaken.
The international laws and treaties cited by the defence and the National Assembly’s failure to rectify the law on the death sentence, he said, were not the issues before the court and as such the court could not speculate on issues which are not before it.
Drawing the attention of the court to the charge sheet as well as the offences and the sections under which the applicants were charged, the chief justice said the section has categorically stated that no one should be convicted on uncorroborated evidence.
Further citing various sections of the supreme court rules regarding the review of cases and the actions the court should take in the process ,he declared that the conclusion could not be averted that the motion has failed and therefore deserved to be dismissed.
Ruling on death sentence
On the issue of death sentence to which the applicants were condemned, Justice Semega-Janneh who delivered the ruling on the issue upon unanimous agreement conceded that he totally agreed with the statement of Justice Amadi who convicted and sentenced the applicants to death.
“He ruled that he would not convict the applicants on uncorroborated evidence by one of the witnesses who was an accomplice unless his evidence was corroborated. I totally agree with the ruling of the court of appeal that there was no miscarriage of justice. The law has categorically stated that no one should be sentenced to death by any court of law without being prescribed by the law if no violence or death has occurred,” he said.
Regarding the international treaties cited by the defence, Justice Janneh opined that some of the treaties have not abolished death sentence while observing that it is left to the public and the National Assembly to decide the desirability of review or abolition of the death penalty.
“I have come to the conclusion that I should impose life sentence on each of the applicants and maintained their conviction accordingly,” he ruled.]]>