Nolle Prosecui filed in gang rapist trial

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The attorney general and minister of Justice, Abubacarr M. Tambadou has filed a nolle prosecui in the criminal case involving three accused persons, Dembo Mahanera, Balema Sohna and Muhammed Hydara before the High Court in Basse, Upper River Region.

The accused persons were alleged to have jointly had unlawful carnal knowledge of a 17 old girl (name withheld) without her consent on or about the 26 June, 2016 at Missiraba Mariama village in the Upper River Region.

The prosecution had closed its case after calling five witnesses and tendering several exhibits to prove the charge against the accused persons.

The 1st accused, Dembo Mahanera allegedly escaped from police custody and fled the jurisdiction, the 2nd accused person, Balema Sohna and the 3rd accused person, Muhammed Hydara both opened their defence but were yet to close their defence when the court was informed that the 2nd accused was incarcerated in the neighbouring Republic of Senegal in December, 2017, and could not finished his defence.

During January sitting, the presiding Judge Simeon A. Abi in his ruling disclosed that it is the obligation of the surety to ensure attendance of the accused person in court.

That the fact that the accused person was under arrest in another jurisdiction is the same as being absent from the court as the trial cannot proceed in his absence.

Justice Abi stated that the surety could not have averted the arrest of the accused person in Senegal and that any or every effort of the surety towards securing the attendance of the accused person may only bear fruits when the due process of law has been followed in Senegal.

The presiding judge declared that unless the State choose to abandon the charge against Balema Sohna, but pointed out that it would be unreasonable to keep Muhammed Hydara hanging on a joint charge with Balema Sohna whose attendance cannot in anyway be guaranteed. 

Justice Abi cautioned the State to advice itself on the next line of action as to what to do about the surety to Balema Sohna and the matter was adjourned to the 26 February, 2018, for mention and report by the State on their next line of action.

During Monday sitting, State Counsel Lamin Jarju informed the court that the state filed a nolle prosecui and the said document was tendered before the court.

The nolle prosecui reads: In exercise of powers vested upon me under Section 85(1) ( C) of the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia 1997 and Section 64 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code Cap 11:01 Revised laws of The Gambia 2009, I Abubacarr M. Tambadou, the attorney general of the Republic of The Gambia, hereby inform the honourable court that the State intends that the proceedings in the charge against the accused persons in criminal case HC/420/16/CR/145/AO shall not continue.

The presiding Judge Simeon A. Abi declared that pursuant to the nolle prosecui filed on the 14 February, 2018, signed by the attorney general and minister of Justice, Abubacarr M. Tambadou, the case is discontinued and the accused person, Muhammeh Hydara was accordingly discharged.

Author: Bruce Asemota in Basse