Lawyers boycott sittings at high court

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The High Court premises at the Independence Drive in Banjul were calm and relatively deserted by members of the Gambia Bar Association, as many began observing their boycott of the courts.

A press statement issued by The Gambia Bar Association, and read out by its president to the media yesterday relating to the Judiciary, stated: “We ask all members of the Bar Association and the staff of the Judiciary, in particular, to boycott the courts in solidarity with the people until such time that the Government of the outgoing President Jammeh accepts the result of the election and hand over power to the President-elect.”

When our reporter visited the Judiciary complex yesterday morning, most courtrooms were either closed or those that opened were empty as no private lawyers were seen around or in the courtrooms.

The Cadis’ Court was opened, but no lawyer was visible inside the courtroom as they had some proceedings until midday.

Justice E.O. Dada sat for a while in her court, where two cases were heard, which were the criminal trial involving the state against Momodou Sabally and the criminal case involving the state against seven accused persons: Oumie Saffiatou Jallow, Mansa Bah and 5 others.

However, there were other trial prisoners inside Justice Dada’s court, and their cases were not called due to the relative absence of their lawyers in court.

A trial prisoner told our reporter that he has a lawyer, but his lawyer was not in court, noting that the Bar Association boycott of the courts would have immense effects on him and other trial prisoners.

The trial prisoner opined that the Bar Association should have asked lawyers representing trial prisoners to attend court.

Meanwhile, the state was represented in both cases by senior state counsel A.M. Yusuf.

Justice O. Ottaba’s court was opened, but was empty with no one inside the courtroom.

The court doors of Justice Martin U. Okoi, Justice O. Uduma and Justice Agbola were closed, while Justice Amina Saho-Ceesay’s court was open.

Author: Bruce Asemota