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No case to answer submission, in human rights activist's case

Jun 14, 2010, 1:32 PM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

Hagum Gaye defence counsel for the embattled human rights activist, Edwin Nebolisa Nwakaeme, Director of Programs at the African Democracy Organization and Good Governance (ADG) on Wednesday made a no case to answer submission on behalf of her client.

Mr. Nwakaeme is standing trial before magistrate Hilary U. Abeke of the Banjul Magistrates' Court, on a charge of giving false information to a public officer.

In her submission, defense counsel Gaye told the court that after due consideration of the evidence advanced by the prosecution witnesses, the defence has decided that there is no case for the accused person to open his defence.

She pointed out that the accused person is facing a charge of giving false information to a public officer under section 114(a) of criminal code, laws of The Gambia.

She said that the prosecution must proof its case beyond all reasonable doubt, and noted that before the prosecution secures the conviction of the accused person, the ingredients must be there, as provided for in section 114 (a) of criminal code.

"Did the accused person give any information, be it false, or otherwise to the President's Office? Your worship, if so, where is such false information?" she submitted.

The defence counsel said the first prosecution witness, Momodou Badjie, a program officer at the NGO Affairs Agency under the Ministry of Interior, did not advance any meaningfully reason in his evidence, which the court should believe. She said Mr. Badjie had outlined the criteria an organisation must meet in order to acquire the status of an NGO in The Gambia.

She noted that Mr. Badjie was pressed during cross-examination, and he told the court that the letter he wrote to Secretary General, dated 21st February 2010, was a response to an earlier letter from the Secretary General.

She said the 2nd witness for the prosecution, Saikou Jadama, a police officer attached to the Serious Crime Squad at Police headquarters in Banjul, also told this court that he took the cautionary statement of the accused person in the presence of an independent witness.

But he (Jadama) told this court that he could not recall the name of the independent witness. That what he could only remember was one Mr. Ceesay from Busumbala village in Kombo North district.

Subsequently, the defence counsel told court that the accused person has no case to answer, and that he deserved to be acquitted and discharged.

The case was at that juncture adjourned to 17th June 2010 for the prosecution to reply on points of law.