Apr 24, 2009, 6:53 AM
Lawyer Ousainou Darboe yesterday expressed his concern over the discharge of two of the five accused persons involved in a criminal trial at Banjul Magistrates' Court.
Yusupha Kuyateh, Mustapha Kanteh (first and second accused respectively) were jointly charged together with Lamin Fadera, Fatou Fatty and Kawsu Mbenga.
However, Yusupha Kuyateh, Mustapha Kanteh were discharged by Magistrate Mbeke following an application made by the prosecuting officer, Corporal Makan, to withdraw the charges against them.
The five were standing trial on a six-count charge of affray, common assault and criminal trespass.
Noting that the decision to prosecute on any particular offence or any accused person is the discretion of the prosecution, Lawyer Darboe said the exercise of such discretion could raise eyebrows among the parties involved, adding that in this particular case eyebrows should be raised.
Lawyer Darboe was holding brief for Neneh Cham-Chongan, who is defending the 3rd , 4th and 5th accused persons - Lamin Fadera, Fatou Fatty and Kawsu Mbenga.
Lawyer Joseph Joof is representing Yusupha Kuyateh and Mustapha Kanteh.
"Your worship, on count one the original charge sheet mentions a victim of an assault and that victim has given evidence in the last sitting. And I read the evidence and the cross-examination was further perfunctory," he said.
In reply, the prosecutor Corporal Manka told the court that the prosecution is applying under Section 68 sub (1) of the CPC to withdraw the case against the first and second accused persons.
He further informed the court that there are fresh charges of common assault and assault, causing actual bodily harm preferred against the 3rd, 4th and 5th accused persons.
The presiding magistrate noted that since there are new charges against the three accused persons, it was better for the court to discharge them from the old charges.
Lawyer Darboe at that juncture told the court to wait until the next adjourned date to discharge them.
The case was adjourned to 2nd March 2010 for plea-taking.