High Court to rule on fate of state prosecutors in NIA 9 trial

Friday, August 11, 2017

Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara of the High Court in Banjul on 9 August 2017 adjourned the objection of state representation raised by the former NIA DG, Yankuba Badjie, for ruling.

The nine accused persons are Yankuba Badjie, Richards Loiuse Lesse Gomez, Saihou Omar Jeng, Babucarr Sallah, Yusupha Jammeh, Tamba Mansary, Haruna Susso, Lamin Darboe and Lamin Lang Sanyang.

The accused persons are charged with multiple offences including conspiracy to commit murder, making false documents without proper authority, assault, causing serious bodily harm, and alleged murder of Solo Sandeng, an activist of the United Democratic Party in April 2016.

The legal wrangling began on 29 May 2017 when lawyer A.A.B. Gaye and five other private practitioners appeared for the state to prosecute the nine accused persons.

At Wednesday’s sittings, lawyer C.E. Mene, the applicant’s counsel informed the court that he was served with a rejoinder by the respondent but has an objection to the rejoinder.

The presiding judge however asked the applicant’s counsel to go ahead to adopt their brief.

In adopting the applicant brief, lawyer Mene said that the applicant’s brief of arguments and the summons on notice dated 31 May 2017 and was filed the same day.

He further applied that the brief of argument dated on 18 July 2017 and filed the same day be adopted by the court.

Lawyer Mene also applied to adopt the reply on points of law to the respondent brief dated 1 August 2017 and urged the court to grant the application in the overriding interest of justice.

However, lawyer Mene indicated that the respondent rejoinder hinges on the issue of the power of the Attorney General to appoint public prosecutors for the case.

Mene further indicated that the issue was raised for the first time by the respondents, noting that the issue was irrelevant to the application.

He pointed out that arguments end with the points of law except when there is an exceptional circumstance and therefore urged the court not to grant the rejoinder.

In her submission, lawyer Combeh Gaye argued that it was the provision of the state that the applicant’s objection to the rejoinder was misconceived.

She submitted that the rejoinder was proper in the circumstance, citing some constitutional provisions in the 1997 constitution to back her submission and therefore, urged the court to overrule the applicant’s objection to the rejoinder.

In adopting the brief of arguments filed by the respondents, lawyer Combeh Gaye applied that the briefs dated on 27 July 2017 and filed on 28 July 2017 and the arguments on the rejoinder filed on behalf of the state dated on 7 August 2017 and filed the same day be adopted.

She, however, urged the court to dismiss the first accused/applicant (Yankuba Badjie) summons on notice dated 31 May, 2017 with substantial cost.

At this junction, lawyer Mene rose and informed the court that the matter was a criminal matter.

The trial judge then adjourned the matter until 17 August 2017, for ruling.

Author: Bruce Asemota