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Moses Richards trial resumes

May 17, 2011, 1:58 PM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

The criminal trial allegedly for giving false information and sedition involving Moses B. Johnson Richards, a private legal practitioner, resumed yesterday at the Banjul Magistrates' Court before acting-Principal Magistrate Alagba.

When the case was called, defence counsel Sheriff Marie Tambedou told the court that the case was adjourned for continuation of cross-examination of the second defence witness, but the Gambia Bar Association wished to apply for an adjournment.

"We cannot not proceed with defence witness two (DW2). We ask the indulgence of the court to grant our application for an adjournment," he added.

But the trial magistrate insisted that the accused person was competent enough to conduct his case, and he did not see any reason why the case could not proceed.

Defence counsel S.M. Tambedou again rose, and told the court that the accused person was being represented by the Bar and, therefore, he could not represent himself.

"This is part of the oldest rules, which has been in existence in the system for a long time. When a lawyer is involved in a criminal trial, there must be another counsel to represent him or her in the trial," counsel told the court.

He added that despite how competent a particular lawyer was, he needed another counsel to represent him.

The trial magistrate again insisted that the case must proceed, because it had not proceeded for some time, adding that he wanted the court to finish with DW2.

Moses Richards then told the court to grant the application for an adjournment on the grounds that the counsel who led the witness in the evidence-in-chief was not in court, and he was the best person to lead the witness in the cross-examination of DW2.

He added that justice rushed is justice crushed, while seeking the court's indulgence to grant the application for an adjournment.

The trial magistrate again insisted that DW2 must enter into the witness box.

When asked by state counsel N.M. Agai to explain what transpired in the village of Jabang in 2007, the witness said that "in 2007, I was at work when I received a telephone call from my village that the court officials came to the village throwing out properties of the villagers. This was why, when I was advised by the Sheriff of the high court, I wasted no time in getting a lawyer to write a letter on my behalf, as the alkalo of Jabang village."

Further asked whether the accused had filed anything in any of the court houses, the witness told the court: "I did not know about that. All what I know was that after the Sheriff advised me to write a letter, I went to the accused person's chambers to write a letter, which he did  and I took it to the Sheriff of the high court."

The case was adjourned till 19th May 2011.