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Moses Richards appeals conviction

Oct 7, 2011, 12:42 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

A team of more than ten lawyers, all members of the Gambia Bar Association, led by senior counsel Antouman Gaye has told the newly-designated judge of the Special Criminal Court in Banjul to excuse himself from handling or hearing the appeal filed by the Bar on behalf of their jailed colleague, lawyer Moses Richards, a former high court judge.

The lawyers’ stance followed Richards appearance at the high court in Banjul to appeal his conviction and sentence for two years six months with hard labour by the lower court in Banjul some three weeks ago.

Richards, it would be recalled, was convicted and sentenced for the offences of sedition, and of giving false information to a public officer.

Members of the Bar Association decided to stay away from the courts this week, in protest against his imprisonment.

“My lord we are applying for your lordship Justice Nkea to excuse himself from hearing this appeal,” counsel Gaye told the presiding judge.

The reasons advanced by Counsel Gaye, among others, were that the judge before being promoted to his recent post as judge of the high court in Banjul ordered the remand of Richards in police custody, but to the surprise of the Bar, Richards was instead taken to the State Central Prisons Mile 2.

“It will not be fair to the appellant’s case to be heard by the same man who remanded him in police custody. So we are calling him to excuse himself from the case,” counsel Gaye further told the judge, who wasted no time in writing a ruling to that effect.

Justice Emmanuel Nkea in his short ruling ordered the transfer of the case file to the Chief Justice for reassignment, as he would not hear the said appeal.

The state represented by the deputy Director of Special Litigations, Simeon Abi, did not raise any objection to the request of the defence team.

Richard was accused of giving false information to the Sheriff of the Gambia on 6th November 2010, by stating that the President of the Gambia had ordered the stay of execution of the writ of possession in civil suit with intent to cause the Sheriff of The Gambia to stop the execution of the said writ of possession.

Moses B Johnson Richards was further accused of publishing a letter to the Sheriff of The Gambia stating that the President of The Gambia had ordered the stay of execution of a writ of possession in the civil suit with intent to bring into contempt the person of the said President, sometime in 6th November 2010.