Kumba Sillah-Camara of the High Court in Banjul yesterday gave the former
Director General of the defunct NIA, Yankuba Badjie seven days to get his legal
counsels to represent him in court failure would result the court to order the
State to provide him with a legal counsel.
Justice Camara’s declaration came in the wake of the continued absence of Yankuba Badjie legal counsels (Barristers C. Mene and E. Chime) and an application made by the prosecution led by veteran lawyer Antouman A.B. Gaye.
The accused persons are Yankuba Badjie, Louie Richard Leese Gomez, Saihou Omar Jeng, Babucarr Sallah, Yusupha Jammeh, Haruna Susso, Tamba Mansaray, Lamin Darboe and Lamin Lang Sanyang.
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 yesterday’s sitting, the court again observed that the legal counsels for the 1st and 3rd accused persons were absent and the presiding judge inquired from the accused persons why their lawyers were not in court.
The two accused persons expressed surprise at their lawyers’ absence but informed the court that they would consult their families to contact their lawyers.
Justice Camara then informed the accused persons that they are charged with capital offence that requires that they be represented by legal counsel.
She further informed the accused persons that if their lawyers are not ready to proceed, the state could provide lawyers for them, adding that their lawyers could not hold the court to ransom.
The prosecution lead counsel, Antouman Gaye, told the court that he has no idea whether the counsel for the 3rd accused, lawyer E. Jallow communicated to the court as to why he was not in court.
With regard to Yankuba Badjie lawyers’ absence in court, lawyer Gaye disclosed that it was improper for the court to be held to ransom by them.
Lawyer Gaye applied that the prosecution serve the 1st accused person with the documents filed as he described their absence as boycott of the court.
Lawyer Gaye told the court that he was reliably informed that lawyers Yassin Senghore and C. Mene had a case before the Gambia Court of Appeal on Monday morning.
Lawyer Gaye also told the court that he was informed that lawyer E.E. Chime had a case with L.S. Camara yesterday morning before Justice Amina Saho- Ceesay.
Lawyer Gaye revealed that lawyers by their profession are officers of the court, noting that the court was not powerless to do something about the situation.
He therefore urged the presiding judge to invoke her unlimited powers in the case.
The presiding judge disclosed that the lawyers continued absence from court without any reason was discourteous.
She however ordered the prosecution to serve all the documents on the 1st accused person and cautioned that the 1st accused person was given until 20 November 2017 to get his counsels in court, failing which the court would order the state to provide him with a legal counsel.
The matter was adjourned until 20 November 2017, for mention on the issue of legal counsel.