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Court gives ultimatum in Gumbo’s case, as prosecution star-witness absent again

Jun 5, 2012, 12:28 PM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

Principal Magistrate Alagbe of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court had warned the prosecution that if, by the next adjourned date, their star-witness failed to appear in court, the court would close their case and allow the defence to open its case.

Professor Muhammed Kah, vice chancellor of the University of The Gambia, regarded by the prosecution as their star-witness, was supposed to testify in the case involving Dr Gumbo Ali Touray, but has failed to appear in court for the second time.

Dr Gumbo Ali Touray is being tried for the offence of giving false information to a public officer at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court.

When the case was called yesterday, the prosecuting officer, Superintendent Joof, again informed the court that the prosecution was applying for an adjournment on the grounds that the prosecution’s star-witness, Professor Kah, was still said to have been out of the jurisdiction on official mission.

He added that Professor Kah had written to the court, informing it that he was still out of the jurisdiction.

Therefore, he applied for one more adjournment.

Responding to the prosecution’s submission, defence counsel Badou S.M Conteh told the court that the defence had no objection to the adjournment, but insisted that the prosecution needed to tell the court the exact date when they think their witness could come to court.

He added that at the last adjournment date, the prosecutor told the court that Professor Kah would be in court yesterday, but had failed again.

Counsel noted that the case was brought before the court on 3rd August 2011, and had suffered a series of adjournments at the instance of the prosecution, and the defence was still exercising patience.

Counsel further submitted that the court could not keep on waiting for him.

He said his client’s time had been wasted since then, and he was always in court, and urged the court that by the next adjourned date, if the witness failed to come to court, the court should close the prosecution’s case and let the accused enter into his defence.

In his ruling, the trial magistrate said the court quite agreed with the defence counsel about the prolonged waiting for a particular witness.

He pointed out that the court would not entertain any further adjournment, adding that failure of the witness to appear in court, would make the court to close the case of the prosecution.

He consequently adjourned the case till 12th June 2012, for hearing to continue.