This followed a ruling delivered by principal magistrate Dayoh M. Small Dago of the Brikama magistrates’ court on the no-case submission made by defence counsel BS Touray.
In his ruling, the trial magistrate said the accused persons were charged with four counts of arson, willful damage to property valued at D75, 000 by cutting down 275 cashew trees, criminal trespass and conspiracy to commit felony at the village of Makumbaya on the farm of one Francis Mendy.
He added that at the closure of the prosecution’s case, counsel made a no-case-to-answer submission, on the grounds that the prosecution had failed to make a prima facie case against the accused persons, during the testimonies of the various witnesses.
He said according to the defence counsel, the prosecution must have all the cogent evidence, credible information, no material contradiction in evidence before the court, as well as no material contradiction between the evidence given in court and the locus.
The magistrate said for a no-case submission to be successful, the evidence must lack credibility or if they fail to produce evidence.
The magistrate further stated that the law in The Gambia is that if the evidence against the accused persons, in the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, is not sufficient to require them to enter into their defence.
He said for the matter to be clear to the court, the accused persons must enter their defence to shed light on what had happened.
“In view of the above, I order the accused persons to enter into their defence,” the magistrate concluded.
The case continues on 19 May 2014, for defence.