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GNOC case suffers another setback

Apr 26, 2011, 3:57 PM | Article By: Dawda Faye

The alleged theft case involving Beatrice Allen, Muhammed Janneh and Ousman Wadda, all officials of the Gambia National Olympic Committee, GNOC, could not proceed last Thursday before Magistrate Tabally of the Kanifing Magistrates' Court.

The prosecuting officer, Inspector Mballow, applied for an adjournment.

He told the court that the reason for his application was that having gone through the case file, and having the opportunity to interview the witness who should have testified on 21st April 2011, he came to the conclusion that he was not a material witness.

He stated that it was late to call another witness, and had communicated that to the commissioner of prosecution.

He craved the court’s indulgence to grant his application for an adjournment.

The defence counsel, Ida Drammeh, rose and said 13th April up to 21st April, 2011 was eight days since the last sitting on the case.

She argued that the prosecutor was not new in the matter, adding that the application would not be a proper one.

She further indicated that the prosecutor was familiar with the facts of the case.

Still arguing, the defence counsel told the court that at the end of the proceedings, on 13th April 2011, she asked the prosecutor how many witnesses he had and he said he would not disclose the number of witnesses he had, because it was the discretion of the prosecution.

She added that since the prosecutor had taken that stand, it does not lie in his mouth to say he wanted an adjournment, and that he would call two witnesses if he was granted his application.

"The truth of the matter is that there are no witnesses who can add any value to the prosecution's case," the defence counsel told the court.

She went on to state that the proper thing the prosecution should do was to recognize this fact, and to limit it to what he said about the witness he interviewed.

"No one or any other person that the prosecutor wishes to call can help the prosecution in the case," Ida Drammeh submitted.

She reminded the court at this juncture that it made an order for the prosecution to supply the defence with statements of witnesses who were going to testify, and that she had not been supplied with the statements of the witnesses who had already testified.

"My application is for the court to order the prosecutor to call his witnesses now, and if he fails to do so, let the court declare their case close," the defence counsel further submitted.

She added that the court should take note of the fact of the length of time the case took, and the mental anguish and trauma it caused the accused persons.

At this juncture, Magistrate Tabally warned the prosecutor that he was adjourning the case for the last time at the instance of the prosecution.

He ordered the prosecutor to supply the defence with the statements of witnesses, and adjourned the case till 9th May 2011, for continuation of the hearing.