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Alleged human trafficking trial stalls

Nov 17, 2016, 10:06 AM | Article By: Bruce Asemota

The criminal trial involving the state against one Lamin Jaiteh failed to proceed yesterday, before Justice O. Ottaba of the High Court in Banjul.

The accused was charged with acting as intermediary for the purpose of human trafficking.

The particulars of offence stated that the accused between August and December 2015 in Serekunda and diverse places in The Gambia, acted as agent of Mona Sabah Tahir Manpower Services, a recruitment agency in Kuwait, by recruiting over three people to travel to Kuwait for the purpose of exploitation.

When the matter came up yesterday, state counsel E. Sanneh told the court that state counsel A. Mendy, who is handling the case, was absent.

He pleaded with the court to give him a short stand down of the case, so as he could go search for him.

Counsel added that he does not have the case file, as he was not verbally briefed about the case.

At this junction, presiding Judge O.Ottaba disclosed that state counsel Mendy wrote to the court that he was travelling out of the jurisdiction.

In response, defence counsel Makick Jallow said the Justice ministry is an institution where there are many highly qualified lawyers, who should have taken the case in the absence of lawyer Mendy.

He said the matter was slated for cross-examination of the first prosecution witness, adding that another state counsel could have been present to take notes on his behalf.

He further disclosed that the absence of one state counsel should not mean that the case should be laid to rest, and described counsel writing to the court that he was travelling out of the jurisdiction, and not communicating same to the defence, as disappointing.

The matter was then adjourned until 29 November 2016.