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Charges against accused are competent - Magistrate Abeke

Jun 22, 2010, 1:38 PM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

Senior Magistrate Hilary U. Abeke of the Banjul Magistrates' Court yesterday ruled that the charges against Edrisa Jobe are competent and in conformity with the Laws of The Gambia.

Edrisa Jobe, the former head of special operations unit at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), is currently standing trial for having in his possession firearms and ammunitions without authority.

The magistrate's ruling follows a submission made by the defense counsel, Sagar Jahateh, who had objected to the two-count charges against her client.

She declared during the previous sitting, when the charges were read to the accused person for plea-taking, that the charges are so incompetent that they cannot be maintained, as they do not disclose any offence(s).

In delivering his ruling, Magistrate Abeke stated that he had carefully gone through the objection raised by defence counsel, which was that the two-count charges against her client were incompetent, as they did conform to the law.

He said the counsel argued strongly that the counts in the charge sheet did not comply with Sections 110 and 113 of Criminal Procedure Code and Section 8 of the Arms and Ammunition Act as amended of 2008.

The magistrate noted that in response to counsel’s argument, the prosecuting officer, Sergeant Camara, maintained that the two counts in the charges against the accused person are competent and in conformity with the law. The prosecutor also stated that they have disclosed the offence for which the accused person stood charged.

"I have perused the charge sheet, and I have found nothing wrong with the charge sheet," the Magistrate stated.

"There is nothing I have seen in the charge sheet that does not conform with the said Sections 110 and 113 of CPC and also Section 8 of the Arms and Ammunition Act as amended in 2008," he said.

He added: "Accordingly, the preliminary objection raised by the counsel for the accused person is overruled by this court. I equally found out that the two counts are competent and in conformity with the law. I finally order the case to proceed to hearing as per the counts contained in the charge sheet."

After the ruling, the prosecuting officer applied for an adjournment to enable the prosecution to call witnesses at the next adjournment date.

However, the defence counsel objected to the application, arguing that since her client was not granted bail, it would not be fair for him to be in custody without the trial proceeding.

However, this was overruled and the case was adjourned to Thursday 24th June 2010 for hearing.