Defence counsel promised to ensure appearance of accused in court

Friday, December 21, 2018

Lawyer Edward Gomez has promised to ensure that one Christiani Oranugo appears in court in next sitting to explain why he was absent from court session.

Lawyer Edward Gomez made this disclosure recently before Justice Ebrima Jaiteh at the High Court in Banjul in a criminal trial involving the State and Lucy Malachi alias Happiness and Christiani Oranugo.

Lawyer Gomez disclosed that he would take all reasonable steps to contact Christiani Oranugo so that he appears on the next court sitting date and at the same time to prepare himself to give the court good reasons why he was absent in court on the 13th of December, 2018.

When the matter came up before the court, the court observed the absence of the 2nd accused person and defence counsel Edward Gomez stated that he regrets informing the court that the 2nd accused was absent for some inexplicable reasons.

Lawyer Gomez further stated that the 2nd accused person did not contact his clerk, his junior or himself to offer any reason why he couldn’t appear in court.

Lawyer Gomez pointed out that his chambers tried to contact the accused person on his cell phone and it appears that the cell phone was switched off which left him in a state of perplexity and embarrassment.

Defence counsel Gomez said he was aware that the 2nd accused person is on bail and is subject to certain conditions.

On his part, State Counsel A.M. Yusuf disclosed that since the 2nd accused has been consistent in coming to court, he therefore urged the court to give the accused person the benefit of doubt.

Lawyer Gomez then informed the court that since the 1st and 2nd accused persons are jointly charged he opined that the court cannot proceed in the absence of the 2nd accused person.

He therefore humbly and respectfully applied for an adjournment and informed the court that he will take all reasonable steps to contact the 2nd accused person so that he appears in court on the next sitting and prepare to give the court good reasons why he was absent.

The presiding judge disclosed that the 1st and 2nd accused persons are charged on a joint enterprise.

He said the 2nd accused person has been consistently attending trial without absent and since this was his first absence from court he shall accord him the benefit of doubt and adjourn the matter for the last time and warned that if on the next adjourned date, the 2nd accused person is absent without any compelling reasons or circumstances, the State is at liberty to make the necessary application.

The matter was adjourned to the 18th January, 2019 for continuation of cross examination of PW3 by defence counsel.

It would be recalled that the accused persons; Lucy Malachi and Christiani Oranugo are charged with conspiracy to commit felony and human trafficking.

Author: Bruce Asemota