presiding Judge Kumba Sillah-Camara of High Court in Banjul has disclosed that
she would not hesitate to lodge complaints to the General Legal Council (GLC)
against some defense lawyers who absent themselves from the court sittings
Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara made this declaration yesterday during the criminal trial involving the State and nine former officials of the defunct NIA when she observed that the defense lawyers for the 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 9th accused persons were absent in court without advancing any reason for their absence.
When the case was called at about 12 noon, the counsel for the State led by Antouman A.B. Gaye announced their representation for the State and lawyer C.E. Mene announced his appearance for the 1st accused, Yankuba Badjie and lawyer Saikou Fatty of National Agency for Legal Aid announced his representation for the 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th accused persons (Babucar Sallah, Yusupha Jammeh, Tamba Mansaray and Lamin Darboe).
The presiding judge took a ten minutes stand down and upon her return she observed that the lawyers for the 2nd, 3rd, 6th, and the 9th accused persons were still not in court
Justice K.S. Camara disclosed that lawyers are supposed to be in court before the presiding judge and not otherwise.
She lamented that lawyers absenting themselves from the court without advancing any reason is unfortunate and tantamount to holding the court to ransom.
She pointed out that the accused persons are charged with the offence of murder which carries death penalty if found guilty and it is in interest of justice that the defense lawyers are always present in court at all time during the trial of the accused persons.
Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara admonished the absent lawyers that to be forewarned is to be forearmed and cautioned that the court will not tolerate or take it likely with any lawyer(s) who is (are) absent.
Furthermore, senior lawyer Antouman A.B. Gaye sought leave of the court for the prosecution to play a video before the court for the purpose of the 16th prosecution witness, Ebrima Jabang to identify himself in the video.
The presiding judge turned down the request, noting that it would be prudent and in the interest of justice to play the video when all the defense lawyers are present in court and hearing continues today at 12 noon.
Meanwhile, Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara informed the court that the court would be sitting from 12 noon to 1.30 pm from Mondays to Wednesdays weekly during the month of Ramandan.