#Article (Archive)

Judiciary Brands Point Story "Misleading"

Jul 15, 2008, 6:09 AM

Mr. Haruna Jatieh, Judicial Secretary, has issued a rejoinder to the story carried in yesterday's issue of The Point regarding the feelings of a Gambian living abroad with regard to the judiciary's handling of his case. The rejoinder is printed below in full.

Rejoinder to the Point Lead Story Norway-based Gambian Unhappy with Gambian Judiciary.

I submit the following rejoinder in response to the misleading story on the front page of The Point of Monday July 14, 2008 under the above caption. It is clear that Mr. Barry's claim that the lack of lustre and inordinate delays he claims is absolutely baseless. His legal representative has been fully involved in the proceedings which, for all intents and purposes, are taking a normal turn.

The facts of the case are as follows:

1. On the 20th April 2005, the plaintiff Cherno Bubacar Muhammed Barry (by his Attorney Joseph Keita) filed a writ of summons in the High Court bearing number HC 154/05/CO/18/E against Alieu Jagne claiming for the recovery of D503, 922.00 being monies belonging to plaintiff and costs of labour and materials to remedy defective construction and D250, 000.00 for damages for conversion. This summons was issued and scheduled for court hearing on 23rd May 2005. The summons was promptly served on the 10th May 2005 on the defendant.

2. The defendant, by a letter to the court, admitted liability in the sum of D503, 902.00 and promised to pay within 12 months and on the 12th July 2005, the High Court entered judgement in favour of plaintiff with costs of D30, 000.00

3. One year later, the plaintiff came back to court for enforcement of the judgement and, on the 16th October 2006, filed a writ of fieri facias, which was issued almost immediately, for the execution

4. The Sheriff Division since then attempted to enforce the Judgement without success until on 2nd January 2008, when some household items and furniture were attached.

5. Few days after that, on 9th January 2008, Aja Yamundow Jagne filed an interpleader summons claiming ownership of the seized items. In support of her claim, further affidavits were filed in the Court by Jainaba Jagne and Mamour Jagne.

6. The interpleader summons came before a Judge at the High Court on 6th July 2008; the claimant was represented by Mrs Hawa Sisay Sabally whilst Mrs Bola Carol appeared for the plaintiff. According to the records of the court, none of the parties themselves were present. Mrs Sisay-Sabally told that court she had not been served with the plaintiff's affidavit in reply to her client's interpleader. This matter was adjourned to 23rd October 2008 for mention at 9 am because of the intervening court vacation which commences on 1st August.

These are the facts of the case which show that Plaintiff's writ was issued and served promptly to defendant who admitted liability. Execution by the Sheriff Division followed resulting in the seizure of household items and furniture which were later claimed by a third party. Under the law, the court is required to inquire into this claim before authorising the sale to go ahead. This matter could not be resolved in July so it was adjourned to the earliest date in the next court term in October. It is rather surprising that Mr. Barry would bypass his lawyer and make such misleading comments about the judiciary when the fault is not that of the Court. Where a litigant is represented by counsel, he should enquire about the status of his case from that counsel before approaching the press.

I thank you and look forward to your usual co-operation.