Mar 8, 2010, 11:21 AM
Magistrate Warns Prosecution
The trial magistrate in the protracted theft case involving Modou Manga, Joseph Ikpala, at the last adjourned date warned the prosecution that if they fail to bring in their witnesses at the next adjourned date, he would strike out the case.
This stern warning followed the application made by the Prosecuting Officer, Cadet Inspector Mballow, for the case to be adjourned for the second time.
When the case was called on 23rd September 2009, the prosecution applied for an adjournment on the grounds that its expected witness was seriously ill and cannot walk. For that reason, he applied to the court to have the witness, Muhammed Mubarak, interposed so as to call other witnesses to testify, pending the recovery of the first witness.
At that juncture, Defence Counsel Edu Gomez rose to tell the court that the accused was once granted bail, even though he meticulously observed all the bail conditions, he was picked up and sent to Mile 2 prisons, and that the prosecution had unsuccessfully applied for the bail condition to be revoked. He also told the court that his client was sent to Mile 2 without a warrant and detained for more than ten months.
According to him, after much controversy the accused was granted bail with stiff conditions. He argued that the prosecution could not bring its first witness, Muhammed Mubarak, to court ten months ago to be further cross-examined. He said that he was not objecting to an adjournment, but urged the court to acquit and discharge his client if the prosecution fails to bring its witnesses on the next adjourned date.
He maintained that the rights of the accused is being infringed upon, citing Section 24 of the Constitution of The Gambia, to back-up his argument. He further told the court that the case should be accorded a fair hearing.
Magistrate Ikapala told the court that he's mindful of the rights of the accused, noting that the prosecution had applied for an adjournment on two consecutive occasions. He then warned that if the prosecution fails to bring its witnesses on the next adjourned date, he would strike out the case.
The case was adjourned to 8th October 2009.