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Jurisdiction raised in NIA torture case

Sep 25, 2012, 9:45 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

State counsel Simon Abi yesterday responded to the jurisdiction issue raised by the defence counsel, Abdoulie Sissoho, in the case involving four former operatives of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

Counsel Sissoho earlier stated that the Banjul Magistrates’ Court lacked the jurisdiction to try the 4th accused person, Omar Jammeh, who was the officer commanding NIA in the West Coast Region.

The four former senior NIA operatives are Lamin Darboe, Alagie Edrissa Jobe alias Alagie Morr, former head of special operation unit (NIA), Ebrima Drammeh alias Gim, NIA commissioner Kanifing Division and Omar Jammeh alias Boy Boots, officer commanding West Coast Region.

They are being tried for the offences of assault causing actual bodily harm, common assault and assault causing grievous bodily harm.

In response, state counsel, Simon Abi told the court that the reason for charging the 4th accused person together with the other accused persons was for administrative purposes.

He added that all the magistrates court in the country are one, so there was nothing wrong for the 4thaccused person being tried in Banjul where the activities took place.

State counsel Abi added that the court had all right to entertain the case before it.

He cited various sections of the CPC which give the court power to try the matter like any other magistrates court in the country, even if the act allegedly committed by the 4th accused person took place in a different jurisdiction.

Responding, defence counsel Sissoho stated that the particular section cited by the state counsel empowers the court either to transfer the case to its proper jurisdiction or strike out the matter.

He added that the 4th accused person was charged with common assault which he said had no link with the other accused persons.

The case was then adjourned till 1 October 2012, for ruling.

The charge sheet on count one stated that the accused persons, some time in May 2009 at the NIA head office in Banjul, conspired to cause injury to the persons of Lamin Kabou and Lamin Sima.

Count two revealed that the accused persons, some time in May 2009 at the NIA head office in Banjul, with intent to cause grievous harm to Lamin Kabou and Lamin Sima, unlawfully wounded Lamin Kabou and Lamin Sima, by beating them with fist blows, electric cables and metal.