May 18, 2012, 3:40 PM
The defence counsels have urged the Banjul Magistrates' Court to acquit and discharge the accused, Pap Saine, Co-publisher and Managing Editor of The Point Newspaper, on the ground that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima-facie case against him.
The leading defence counsel, Antouman Gaye, was making a 'no case' submission before Master and Registrar of the High Court, Amina Saho-Ceesay sitting at the Banjul Magistrates' Court.
In making his submission, Counsel Gaye said that on the 24th February 2009 the accused Pap Saine pleaded not guilty to the charges. He added that on the 19th May 2009 after the prosecution case was closed, the defence notified the court that they are going to make a 'no case' submission. He submitted that the prosecution called three witnesses, adding that the evidence of PW1 Inspector Sainey Ndure was dead in the water as it did not prove any prima-facie case for the prosecution. According to Counsel Gaye "the nationality of the accused fell in the lips of PW2 and PW3. He submitted that if at the end of the prosecution's case, the court found that the evidence of the prosecution falls short of proving a prima-facie case against the accused, a no case submission by the defence should be upheld. He added that none of the prosecution witnesses' evidence mentioned the date as contained in the charge sheet.
Counsel Antouman Gaye further submitted that if there is a nexus between the evidence and the charges against the accused person, then the court could call upon the accused to explain, which according to lawyer Gaye has not happened in this case. He urged the court to acquit and discharge the accused person.
In response to the defence's no case submission, the police prosecutor, Cadet Inspector Amadou Keita, submitted that he totally disagrees with the defence submission. He submitted that the accused Pap Saine is standing trial on two counts of 'obtaining a birth certificate by false pretence' and 'passport by false declaration'. He said the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses had established that the accused had indeed applied for a Gambian citizenship. He added that it was further established that the accused had "procured for himself registration of birth". He said it was also established that the accused "claimed Gambian citizenship by possessing Gambian documents" such as a Gambian birth certificate and Gambian passport, adding that all these documents were tendered in court as exhibits.
Cadet Inspector Keita further submitted that the issue before the court was not authenticity of documents, but the way and manner in which they were obtained. He said an explanation was required by the accused so as to support his Gambian citizenship claim. He added that based on the stated fact, the prosecution had established a prima-facie case and the accused should be called to enter into his defence.
Replying on points of law, defence counsel Antouman Gaye said the accused was not claiming anything, noting that it is the prosecution who was claiming that the accused was not a Gambian. He said the accused was not charged with possession but procurement. He submitted that the evidence of the prosecution witnesses had proven the innocence of the accused.
Other defence counsels include Hawa Sisay-Sabally, Momodou Musa Drammeh and Hajum Gaye.
The case was adjourned until 15th June 2009 for ruling.