Court expresses concern over absence of Yankuba Badjie’s lawyer

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The presiding Judge Kumba Sillah-Camara yesterday expressed concern over the continued absence of lawyer E.E. Chime, the legal counsel for Yankuba Badjie, the 1st accused person in the criminal trial involving the state against the former officials of the defunct NIA.

The accused persons are Yankuba Badjie, Louie Richard Leese Gomez, Saihou Omar Jeng, Babucarr Sallah, Yusupha Jammeh, Haruna Susso, Tamba Mansary, Lamin Darboe and Lamin Lang Sanyang and they are charged with 26 counts including conspiracy to commit murder, murder, assault causing grievous bodily harm, abduction, making false document without authority amongst others.

During the last court sitting the prosecution called assistant commissioner of police, Abdoulie Sanneh who testified as the 3rd prosecution witness and the matter was adjourned to yesterday for the defence counsel for the 1st accused, Yankuba Badjie to cross examine the witness.

During yesterday sitting, the court again observed that lawyer E.E. Chime was absent from court without furnishing the court reason (s) for his absence.

Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara asked the 1st accused why his legal counsel was not in court, but the accused person could not furnished the court why his legal counsel was absent.

Veteran Lawyer Antouman A.B. Gaye the lead counsel for the prosecution informed the court that it was unclear whether the lawyer for the 1st accused has deliberately absent himself from court.

He said the 1st accused is charged with murder and has the right to be legally represented by a lawyer, adding that the High Court is a superior court of records.

He informed the court that the prosecution has complied with the order of the court to serve all the defence counsels the witness statements except the counsel for the 1st accused who he said has been unreachable.

Lawyer Gaye told the court that Lawyer C. Mene is out of the jurisdiction and the prosecution has made efforts to serve Lawyer E. Chime but to no avail.

The presiding Judge Kumba Sillah-Camara called the accused person and informed him that he had right to change his legal counsel and that it was his constitutional right to be legally represented by a counsel.

Justice Camara, however, informed the court that the court would not foreclose the 1st accused but would rather proceed with the 3rd witness for cross examination.

Assistant Commissioner Abdoulie Sanneh was called to the witness box and all the other defence counsels informed the court that they had no questions for the witness except Lawyer E. Jallow, the counsel for the 2nd accused person, Louie Richard Leese Gomez who asked the witness few questions.

Hearing continues today.

Author: Bruce Asemota