High court judges to hear criminal cases

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Authoritative sources have disclosed to this medium that every judge in the high court would henceforth hear criminal cases starting from the next legal term, which commences in October 2017.

The high court is divided into Criminal Division, Civil and Land Division, Commercial Division and the Miscellaneous General Division.

Our sources revealed that the Criminal Division is currently staffed by two judges, Justice Zainab Jawara Alami and Justice Sainabou Wadda Cisse, noting that there are quite substantial criminal cases awaiting trial with many of the accused persons in custody for several years.

The source further pointed out that because of concerns about the length of pre-trial custody and the need for more expeditious disposal of criminal cases, the Chief Justice has now directed that all other judges of the high court would in addition to their other assignments, handle other criminal cases.

This is unlike in the past when only two judges out of a dozen or so judges deal with criminal cases.

The Chief Judge has also directed all the judges to give priority to criminal cases over civil matters, where possible to sit during the long vacation to hear criminal matters.

The source further disclosed that the Chief Judge has also appealed to members of the Gambia Bar Association (GBA), the National Agency for Legal Aid (NALA) and the Attorney General’s Chambers to cooperate with the judiciary to ensure that criminal cases proceed to hearing.

Author: Bruce Asemota