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In cocaine 12 trial, defence objection overruled

Aug 20, 2010, 12:03 PM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

The narcotics court at the Banjul Magistrates' Court yesterday overruled the defence objections on the charges preferred against the 12 accused persons, all foreign nationals.

Counsel representing the accused persons earlier objected to the charges on the grounds that the charges preferred against the accused persons are "ambiguous and not certain in law."

Magistrate Hilary U. Abeke, in delivering his ruling stated that the court had studied the arguments of both the defence and the prosecution.

Subsequently, he overruled the defence's objections, and called on the accused persons to enter their plea.

However, the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, M. Abdullahi, told the court that the state was applying for an adjournment on the grounds that the state had earlier informed the court that it may prefer more charges against the accused persons.

Defence counsel L.S. Camara, for his part, told the court that the case has been dragging for a very long time, pointing out that within three months the case had suffered nine adjournments without achieving anything.

The case was subsequently adjourned to 31st August 2010 for plea-taking.

Readers would recall that sometime in the month of May 2010, the accused persons were arrested and arraigned before the narcotics court for allegedly being in possession of cocaine amounting to two and half tonnes.

The accused persons are Maimuna Sesay, a Nigerian/Sierra Leonean national, Fernando Varela, a Cape Verde/Dutch national, Barset Goodwin, a Ghanaian/Sierra Leonean, Ephriam Micheal Chiduben, a Nigerian national, Juan Carlos Sanchez, Eric Bottini, Dose Fermin, Juan Carlos Diaz, and Esteaban Zavala, all Venezuelan nationals, George Sanchez, a Mexican/Liberian national, as well as Rudy Rasoehamid Gazi and Dennis Wilgo Winter, both Dutch nationals.