NIA’s 9 trial resumes

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The criminal trial involving the embattled former officials of the defunct National Intelligence Agency (NIA) resumed on Monday, 16 October 2017, before Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara of the High Court in Banjul.

The accused persons: Yankuba Badjie, Richard Louise Leese Gomez, Sheikh Omar Jeng, Babucarr Sallah, Yusupha Jammeh, Haruna Susso, Tamba Mansaray, Lamin Darboe and Lamin Lang Sanyang, are charged with multiple offences, including conspiracy to commit murder, murder, assault causing bodily harm, making false document without authority, among others.

It would be recalled that the State represented by M.B. Abubacarr of the Attorney-General’s Chambers started the trial and called two witnesses, all of whom testified and were cross-examined by the defence team.

The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice appointed six private legal practitioners as public prosecutors in the matter, but the 1st accused’s counsel objected to their representation and filed summons on notice, dated 31 May 2017.

The legal wrangling took three months when the presiding Judge dismissed the application and ruled that the application was “frivolous and an abuse of court process.”

When the matter came on Monday, the presiding judge asked the defence counsels whether they received the amended information on the additional counts, to which Lawyer Antouman A.B. Gaye, the lead counsel for the public prosecutors replied by telling the court that the process server went to serve the accused persons, but they declined to accept service.

Lawyer E.E. Chime informed the court that he was just served inside the courtroom with the amended information and that the 1st accused was indisposed and seriously ill and admitted at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) in Banjul.

The trial judge, who wished the 1st accused speedy recovery, pointed out that, hopefully the accused would be well and fit to stand trial next week.

The matter was then adjourned until 25 October 2017, for plea taking.  

Author: Bruce Asemota