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Femi Peters' Application Dismissed

Nov 24, 2009, 1:07 PM | Article By: Dawda Faye & Soury Camara

Principal Magistrate Joseph Ikpala of the Kanifing Magistrates' Court, yesterday 23rd November 2009, dismissed the application made by the Defence Counsel in the case involving Femi Peters, for it to be transferred to the Supreme Court.

On 17th November, 2009, Lawyer Ousainou Darboe argued that it was the view of the accused person that the Public Order Act, particularly Section 5 thereof as amended by the Public Order Act of 2009, was inconsistent with Section 25 (ID) of the Constitution of The Gambia.

He further told the court that he was making the application to transfer the case to the Supreme Court under Section 127 of the Constitution. As he vouched, all laws must conform to the Constitution of The Gambia. He cited Section 4 of the Constitution to back-up his argument.

The Prosecuting Officer, Inspector Fadera, objected to the Defence's application, stating that the issue was not a constitutional matter as, according to him, it is a criminal case which should be determined by the court.

He argued that the court does not have the power for a stay of proceedings and referred the court to Section 133 of the Constitution of The Gambia.

Noting that it is the High Court that should issue an order for a stay of proceedings, he urged the court to dismiss the application made by the Defence Counsel for a stay of proceedings, and to transfer the case to the Supreme Court.

After perusing the arguments by the Defence and the prosecution, Magistrate Ikpala ruled in favour of the prosecution and asked the Prosecutor to call his second witness to testify.

In his testimony, the witness, Sabu Ceesay, told the court that he is a Police Officer, a Superintendent and the Commanding Officer in Serrekunda Police Station.

He stated that on 24th October 2009, while on duty at the station, he got a tip that somewhere around Serrekunda Primary School, called Ebony Junction some people were diverting the traffic and putting plastic chairs at the place.

He adduced that on the face of that information he sent a fact-finding mission, and on their return he was informed that the gathering was organised by people putting on T-shirts bearing UDP.

Based on this information, he said they suspected that it was a planned meeting.

According to him, he then informed Deputy Commissioner Pa Ebrima Manneh, who ordered him and others to join him to the scene to find out whether there was a legal permit or not. He indicated that they did not receive any memo at their office concerning the meeting.

He said thereafter they left Serrekunda Police Station to the place, and on arrival at Ebony Junction they met one Kebba Fatty standing at the podium, surrounded by a crowd sitting on chairs, while Kebba Fatty was handling a tape recorder. He added that somebody was using a microphone while Kebba Fatty was recording the speech.
He adduced that Ebrima Manneh then asked Kebba Fatty whether the party was issued with a permit to hold a meeting, who in turn directed them to where the accused was sitting.

According to him, when they asked the accused whether they had obtained a permit to hold the meeting, he told them that they could only know that if the party leader was on the ground.

He further said that when the accused was asked who the party leader was, he (the accused) instead asked them whether they did not hear the announcement over the microphone that the party leader, Ousainou Darboe, was coming.

He maintained that no permit was produced at that point in time.

He further told the court that they stayed at the meeting until it came to an end when he saw people leaving in a procession, and that there was a vehicle in the middle which was being escorted.

The case was adjourned to 8th December 2009.