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DPP urged to remove himself from the treason trial

Mar 25, 2010, 11:36 AM | Article By: Soury Camara

Defence lawyer Pap Cheyassin Secka on Tuesday called for the Director of Public Prosecution, Richard Chenge, to remove himself from the case, in the ongoing treason trial involving the former CDS Lt. General Lang Tombong Tamba and co.

Lawyer Secka, in making this application, told the court that the DPP had gone against professional ethics and court procedure when he invited the principal witness (Ebrima Marreh) in the trial to his office, at a time when Marreh should be treated as a witness of the court.

He told the court that what the DPP did was tantamount to "interfering with the justice system."

Lawyer Secka informed the court that he and another lawyer for the defence, Sheriff Tambedou, went to the office of the DPP shortly after the court sitting, to discuss something and that, to their dismay, they found the witness, Ebrima Marreh, sitting in the DPP's office.

"It will be a matter of cowardice if we fail to bring any matter of concern during the period of this treason trial. It is illegal for PW1 (Ebrima Marreh) who is under the custody of the court to be interviewed by another party", he said.

Lawyer Secka said the point the DPP is missing is that a witness should be interviewed before going to court, and not when the witness was already sworn in, and has now become a witness of the court.

Hawa Sisay-Sabally, another defence counsel in the treason trial, also submitted that she was present at the DPP's office, adding that she has no doubts about the application, and also suggested that the DPP should remove himself from the case.

Reacting to the application, DPP Richard Chenge argued that the defence is only resorting to delaying-tactics. He challenged the defence to cite any relevant authority to support the application.

According to DPP Chenge, there is no law in The Gambia that bars him from having an interview with his witness. He further added that the defence application was intended to divert court proceedings.

Lawyer Secka stood up again, and said that interviewing before the witness is put in the dock is a legal procedure, but to do so after the witness was sworn in tantamount to professional misconduct.

After listening to both parties, the presiding judge, Justice Emmanuel Amadi, advised both parties to abide by the rules of the court.