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Cherno Barry and Co trial: Defence hints on ‘abuse of process’

Sep 22, 2016, 11:10 AM | Article By: Dawda Faye

Defence counsel E. Sanneh yesterday told the Banjul Magistrates’ Court before Magistrate Omar Cham that the way the state was conducting the case involving Cherno Barry and twenty-nine others amounted to nothing but “abuse of process”.

He made this statement when the prosecuting officer, Inspector Sarja Sanyang, applied for an adjournment.

When the case was called, Inspector Sarja Sanyang announced his representation for the IGP.

Defence counsel E. Sanneh, L.S. Camara, Omar Njie, Yassin Senghore, Combeh Gaye and Mrs Joiner represented the accused persons.

Police prosecutor Sanyang said he was applying for an adjournment because the case file had been sent to the AG Chambers for consent purpose, and that they had not yet received the file.

He craved the court’s indulgence to grant them an adjournment.

Defence counsel E. Sanneh rose and said the accused persons faced two indictments, one of section 113 and section 19 of the CPC, adding that they were objecting to the application made by the prosecutor to adjourn the case.

He stated that the state had filed an indictment before the court and, by mere implication, that means the state had evidence to proceed with the matter.

Counsel Sanneh added that the accused persons are senior civil servants, adding that it was not a disputed fact that the accused persons had served the country, and had served it well.

He said it was the requirement under section 24 of the constitution that when the state is prosecuting a case, it does so fairly, further stating that the case had to be prosecuted with utmost speed and care.

He argued that on 30 August 2016, the state filed an indictment against the accused persons, adding that failure of the state to do so contravened section 24 of the constitution.

He said they were asking the court for a short adjournment and urged the state to proceed with the case.

Lawyer Omar Njie rose and said that the last application made by the prosecutor was on 7 September 2016, and was to adjourn the case, and two issues were pointed out by the prosecutor.

He added that one was for an amendment of the charge sheet, and that it was full of irregularities.

He said in essence, there was a need for a fiat in order to proceed with the case.

He further stated that the prosecutor applied for a short adjournment to regularise these two matters, and to put their house in order.

Counsel Njie adduced that without an objection by the defence, the case was adjourned until yesterday.

He said they were not aware of any amended charge sheet, adding that the prosecution had two weeks to do so.

Counsel Njie argued that more than enough time was given to the prosecution to regularise the charge sheet.

He urged the court to grant an adjournment to give the prosecution the last chance to put their house in order, failure which they would apply for an appropriate measure for the court to take.

Prosecutor Sanyang then rose and said that speedy trial was in their interest, adding that any time they get the fiat from the AG chambers and other documents before the next adjournment, they would proceed with the case, and would also go back to their office to make the necessary amendment.

The case was adjourned until 10 October 2016.