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Moses Richards cross-examined

Mar 31, 2011, 12:54 PM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

Lawyer Moses B. Johnson Richards, who is standing trial for allegedly giving false information and sedition at Banjul Magistrates’ Court, was yesterday cross-examined by the Director of Special Litigations, Daniel O. Kulo.

Testifying under cross-examination, Richards told the court that he remembered giving evidence before this court, but he could not remember the precise date.

Richards pointed out that he never had any problem with the police, but D.O. Kulo told him he one time had a problem with the police in connection with a land transaction with one Abdoulie Joof.

Richards said he never acted for Abdoulie Joof for the purchasing of any land in The Gambia.

D.O. Kulo further put it to him that, if the records show that the accused person at one time had a problem with the police, the court should treat him as a liar.

Defence counsel Surahata Janneh then raised an objection, saying that the state counsel was just speculating, and let him produce the records of what he has said.

The defence counsel added that this particular accused person is honourable, and such should not be said when cross-examining such people.

However the trial magistrate overruled the defence counsel’s objection, and asked the state counsel to continue.

Moses Richards under cross examination told the court that he was a former high court judge at the Special Criminal Division, and that he was not dismissed, but instead he was terminated, adding that no reason was advanced as to why his service was terminated.

It was put to him by the state counsel that it was because of misconduct, this was why his services were terminated.

Richards in reply denied any misconduct during his tenure in office as a judge and as a magistrate.

As the proceedings progressed, the accused also told the court that he knew one Pa Ebrima Colley, who was at one time his client.

“Pa Ebrima Colley came to my office, and informed me that the Sheriff of The Gambia asked him to get a lawyer to write a letter for him,” he told the court.

According to Richards, the Sheriff had confirmed to the court that he asked Mr. Colley to get a lawyer to write for him.

Still testifying under cross-examination, Richards further told the court that, when he asked his client what kind of letter the Sheriff asked you to write, he said his client said the Sheriff asked him to write a letter and narrate exactly what transpired in the village of Jabang in 2007.

He said Pa Ebrima Colley is a layman in law, but as a lawyer “you listened to the instruction of your client, and my brief from my client was very clear.”

When asked by the state counsel why he hesitated to write a letter for Pa Ebrima Colley, in reply Richards told the court that he never hesitated to write a letter.

“I made my findings before putting anything down. Pa Ebrima Colley is an educated person, a senior police officer and an alkalo of Jabang village.  He knew fully which kind of letter the Sheriff of The Gambia asked him to get a lawyer to write for him,” Richards told the court under cross-examination.

He added that exbihit A3 was, “my letter; I wrote on behalf of my client dated 6th December 2010 to the office of the Sheriff and the Sheriff of the High Court wrote back thanking me for the cooperation.”

He added: “I cannot file any motion without access to the records of proceedings.”

Asked by the state counsel who normal keeps the records of proceedings at the high court, Richards in reply told the court that the records of proceedings used to be kept by the Principal Assistant Registrar. But this was the office of the Sheriff that asked him to write a letter to the office of the Sheriff of The Gambia to request for the records of the proceedings, dated 14th December 2010.

“On 15th December 2010, I received a letter from the office of the Sheriff accusing me of giving false information, and I’m standing trial before this court because of the letter the Sheriff accused me of”.

At that point, the state counsel intervened and told Richards that he was economical with the truth, but Richards denied that, and said he was trying to answer the question to the best of his ability.

When again asked by the state counsel, why he did not make a follow up to get the records of proceedings, in reply he said, “the Sheriff of The Gambia had written to me accusing me of giving false information and copied to the Office of the President. So I did not think there was a need to make a follow up of the records.   

D.O. Kulo then told the accused that he was not speaking the truth, but the accused insisted that all what he said before the court was true and correct.

Magistrate Alagba subsequently adjourned the case till 1 April 2011 for continuation of the cross-examination.