Antouman Gaye, the lead counsel in the case involving Yankuba Badjie and other
former NIA officers, on the 26th February, 2019, applied before Justice Kumba
Sillah-Camara of the High Court in Banjul to adjourn the case for two weeks
because some of the prosecution witnesses are coming from abroad.
Defence Counsel Mene rose to say that he was not opposing for the case to be adjourned until the following day but opposed for it to be adjourned for two weeks. He argued that the matter started two years ago and there is a list of witnesses filed before the court and he did not know which of them are coming from abroad. He noted that the court cannot speculate.
He went on to say that they were at a loss, stating that it is the case of the prosecution and they should make an arrangement for their witnesses to be present in court. He added that they did not know from where the witnesses are coming, indicating that the prosecution should not take people by surprise.
He further argued that the prosecution did not tell the court whether they have finished with their witnesses within the jurisdiction. He said they opposed the application for an adjournment for two weeks on the grounds that no reason was advanced for the long adjournment. He submitted that this is a criminal matter and the accused persons are in custody, disclosing that they were arrested in February, 2017. He therefore urged the court not to grant the application for adjournment for two weeks.
Counsel Antouman Gaye rose and stated that it was true that the case has gone for two years. However five months of the two years were arguments by the defense. He argued that they would have finished with the case if there were no arguments for five months by the defense.
He submitted that they were dealing with a case involving murder, adding that somebody had lost his life and shall never come back. He revealed that it is a sensitive case, stating further that Fatou Darboe, who is a witness, is in Finland and she is going to give evidence in another case.
He adduced that it is not all the witnesses who are in the list that are in the jurisdiction, noting that some of the witnesses are experts and are engaged. He informed the court that when they come back, they would be able to call all the witnesses they intend to call.
He told the court that the defense has a right to object, saying that adjournment is an absolute discretion of the court.
Counsel Mene stood up again and said that no compelling reason had been stated before the court for the long adjournment. Defense Counsel Jallow rose and stated that the court should not grant the application for an adjournment for two weeks.
Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara, in her ruling, said that the prosecution has progressed within the two years and has called 29 witnesses. She stated that the prosecution should be given enough time because one of the counts is murder. She then granted a week’s adjournment until the 5th March, 2019. Lamin S. Camara earlier reminded Muhamed Sandeng, the 29th witness, that he told the court that among the people who went to exhume his father’s remains was one Mr. Jeng. He was then asked whether he was referring to Sheikh Omar Jeng, and he replied in the positive. He testified further that his father did not have any injuries before he left on the 14th April, 2016, neither did he have respiratory issues.
Under cross-examination by Counsel Jallow, he said that he was aware that his father was involved in a protest on the 14th April, 2016. He disclosed that he was informed by one Muhamed Bass that his father was arrested at Westfield but was not told who arrested him neither was he told where he was taken to. He told the court that he knew Sheikh Omar Jeng when they went to exhume his father’s remains, and he got information about what they did to his father.
He was asked whether it was correct that it was through the social media that he knew what Sheikh Omar Jeng had done to his father, and he replied in the positive.