state represented by B. Jaiteh yesterday informed the Special Criminal Court,
presided over by Justice O. Ottaba, that the death certificate and autopsy
report of the United Democratic Party’s Solo Kurumah, had been sent to the
Ministry of the Interior.
The accused persons on the amended information are Bakary Jammeh, Kaddy Samateh, Lele Bojang, Alkali Sanneh, Yaya Fatty, Muhammed Singhateh, Kemo Touray, Bakary Marong, Buba Mass, Alhagie Saidykhan, Tombong Njie, Modou Sarr, Sheriff Suno, and Lamin Dampha.
They were indicted on several counts ranging from conspiracy to commit felony, unlawful assembly, and riot, incitement of violence, riotously interfering with vehicles, holding a procession without permit and disobeying an order to disperse from an unlawful procession.
When the case was called, counsel B. Jaiteh appeared for the state alongside S.K. Jobe and B. Sanneh, whilst senior counsel Awa Sisay-Sabally and B.S. Touray appeared for the defendants.
Lawyer B.S. Touray then said: “We are here for the adoption of briefs, but we cannot file the affidavit in reply because we were denied access to our clients.”
The trial judge then called out the name of the prison escort, Kalipha Bojang, and said: “Where are my documents.”
Before Kalipha could say anything, the state counsel B. Jaiteh stood up and said: “We have filed amended information before the court dated 26 September 2016. We humbly apply for the amended information to be substituted with the old one. The application was in pursuance to section 24 rules 1 and 2 of the court’s Act, section 218 of CPC and section 64 of the CPC.”
B.S. Touray said there was already an application pending before the court, and subject to the convenience of the court they would ask for a stand down to regularise the affidavit in reply.
“We are just seeing the amended information, and find it difficult to see the areas amended. I believe this is the second time it was amended,” counsel Touray said.
State counsel B. Jaiteh then said they have dropped charges against the late Solo Kurumah, the 6th accused person, but all other substances remained the same.
Lawyer B.S. Touray then said they were not opposed to the application to amend.
State counsel B. Jaiteh further stated that the documents of the deceased (death certificate and autopsy report) were sent to the Interior Ministry, and they could not have them.
B.S. Touray said: “With all due respect, my lord, that is not an excuse. These are public documents, and there are many ways of getting them.”
B. Jaiteh then said they would endeavour to make the documents available to the court.
The trial judge then said the application to amend was granted, and the amended information dated 26 September 2016 was substituted with the one dated 12 July 2016.
On the issue of counsel being denied access to their clients, the trial judge told the prison escort that counsel have right to their clients, which is a constitutional right because it was not like they are going to take the accused persons away.
He said the prison authority should not only stop at saying they would allow them access, but should ensure they are allowed access to their clients.
The case was adjourned until 13 October 2016, at 10a.m.