Sep 26, 2011, 1:05 PM
The Kanifing Magistrates' Court presided over by Principal Magistrate Kayode will tomorrow Friday 19th March 2010 deliver judgment in the Femi Peters case. Peters is the Campaign Manager of the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP).
The case was set for judgement despite the absence of the defence counsel Ousainou Darboe.
Magistrate Kayode told the court that Lawyer Darboe had written to the court that he was going to attend a meeting with the IEC at 10 am.
He maintained that the case was adjourned to the 17th March 2010 at 12:30pm for the accused to open his defence, but the defence counsel choose to attend the IEC meeting, and decided not to appear in court, and in so doing his action was tantamount to disrespect for the court.
He then urged the accused to open his defence.
Magistrate Kayode told the court that the accused was not standing trial for murder or any other capital offence. He stated that if the accused was asked to open his defence and he refused, he could be punished for that. He then urged the accused to choose his options on whether or not to open his defence.
The accused craved the court's indulgence stating that neither him nor the defence counsel was disrespectful to the court. The accused maintained that he and his counsel respect the court.
He said: "My liberty is at stake, because I am on bail and I am not a free man. I am not going to open my defence in the absence of my counsel."
At this juncture, Magistrate Kayode told the court that he was going to rise for a short adjournment, and would come back and "apply the law.?
When he returned, as he was making the remark that "the defence counsel should have appeared in court at 12:30pm," Lawyer Chongan entered the court room and told the magistrate that she was surprised to see the accused person in the dock. She pointed out that Lawyer Darboe had written to all the courts that he was indisposed, and would not appear in court. She stated that she had another matter before Magistrate Kayode, but would hold brief for Lawyer Darboe.
Magistrate Kayode then urged her to proceed with the case.
Lawyer Chongan stated that she could not proceed with the case, because she did not have the case file and did not receive any instructions from Lawyer Darboe to proceed with the case. She then applied for an adjournment of the case.
The magistrate then turned to the accused person, and asked him whether he was going to open his defence.
"I rest my case," the accused told the court.
Lawyer Chongan then walked to the accused in the dock to consult him. She returned and confirmed to the court that the accused had said he was resting his case.
Magistrate Kayode told the court that since the accused had rested his case, he would adjourned the case for judgment based on the evidence of the prosecution witnesses.
In his intervention, Lawyer Pap Cheyasin Secka told the court that Lawyer Darboe was not only a lawyer, but a very important person who has a national duty. He said further that Lawyer Darboe had written to the court that he had a meeting with the IEC. He urged the court, as a senior member of the Bar, to grant the application for an adjournment.