State urges court to dismiss defence’s objection in NIA 9 trial

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The State represented by veteran Lawyer Antounman A.B. Gaye has urged Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara to dismiss objection raised by the defence counsels E.E. Chime and Ibrahim Jallow for the prosecution to call an additional witness in the criminal trial involving the State and nine former officials of the defunct NIA now SIS.

During Monday’s sitting after the 13th prosecution witness, Mbemba Camara finished his evidence in cross examination, the prosecution applied to the court that it was calling one Seedy Saidybah as the 14th prosecution witness.

This was met with objection primarily by the defence counsel representing the 1st accused and the 3rd accused persons; Lawyer E.E. Chime and I. Jallow.

In his reply to the defence’s submission yesterday, Lawyer Antounman Gaye urged the court to call on Seedy Saidybah to testify as the 14th prosecution witness and submitted that the objections of the defence are untenable and unsubstantiated.

Lawyer Gaye argued that what the prosecution is attempting to do is to get the court to prevent the prosecution from presenting its entirety.

He recalled that sometime on the 13th October, 2017, the prosecution filed a notice of intention to call additional witnesses and 19 names were listed and there were no objection from the defence.

Lawyer Gaye said on the 29th January, 2018, the prosecution filed a notice of additional witness and there were no objection from the defence.

Lawyer Gaye informed the court that it was not the prosecution’s first time of filling notice of additional witness and he submitted that the role of the prosecution is totally different from the role of the defence.

He explained that the mode of trial being carried out is burden of proof beyond all reasonable doubt and the way the prosecution proves that burden is to call all material witnesses.

Lawyer Gaye argued that there is no power placed on any court to prevent the prosecution from presenting their case noting that there is no limit to the number of witnesses that the prosecution should call.

Lawyer Gaye further argued that it is trite in a criminal case that if evidence of one witness is sufficient to secure conviction, there is no need to call additional witnesses.

Lawyer Gaye submitted that where the circumstances demand calling additional witnesses, the prosecution is duty bound to call material witnesses.

Lawyer Gaye stated that the authority cited by the defence in the case of MANFOAL versus UAC deals with pleadings in the civil cases.

He argued that the defence’s submission that the prosecution is taking refuge under Section 234 of the Criminal Procedure Code is untenable.

Lawyer Gaye made references to several cases on the Interpretation Act and submitted that the prosecution have always given notice and had always served the defence with the notice of additional witness.

Lawyer Gaye submitted that the objections are frivolous, vexatious and abuse of court process and therefore urged the court to dismiss the defence objection.

In his reply on points of law, Lawyer E.E. Chime argued that based on the interpretation under Section 234 of the CPC, the prosecution is not entitled to call more than one witness.

He submitted that cases referred to by the prosecution have no authoritative effects but persuasive effect and are cases of seventeen century.

Lawyer Chime therefore urged the court to give a ruling that would guide against calling several additional witnesses.

He finally urged the court to disable the witness, Seedy Saidybah.

The matter was adjourned to today for ruling and continuation of hearing.

It could be recalled that the nine accused persons; Yankuba Badjie, Louie Richard Leese Gomez, Sheikh Omar Jeng, Babucarr Sallah, Yusupha Jammeh, Haruna Susso, Tamba Mansary, Lamin Darboe and Lamin Lang Sanyang are charged with 26 counts including conspiracy to murder, murder, assault causing grievous bodily harm, abduction amongst others. 

Author: Bruce Asemota