Human Rights defenders, journalists confab opens, protection of Human Rights, safety of journalists tops agenda
Nov 8, 2010, 10:38 AM
Earlier, ASP Mballow applied to the court to substitute a new charge of economic crime in the case involving Cherno Amidou Savage, Oumie Saffiatou Jallow, Mansa Bah, Ousman Sowe, Shiekh Dawda York, Alpha Kanteh, Abdou Camara and Kemo Fatty, who were charged with conspiracy and obtaining money by false pretence.
But lawyers Moses Richards, Batchilly and Edward Gomez objected to the application made by ASP Mballow that the economic crime charge should be separated from the charges of conspiracy and obtaining money by false pretence.
They argued that the economic crime charge should be heard by the High Court.
While 3560 Colley was holding brief for ASP Mballow, Magistrate Tabally said in his ruling that, citing section 112 (3) of the CPC, that the court may order for offences to be tried separately if it is of the view that the accused might be embarrassed or prejudiced in his or her defence.
He adduced that in the instant case, the trial commenced on 4 April 2014, and two witnesses were already presented by the prosecution.
He further posited that he was mindful of the fact that the case being a criminal trial initiated at the instance of the state, has wide latitude of the mode and strategies of trial it seeks to adopt.
However, he said, this was not the same thing as saying that the rights of the persons accused should be ignored.
He stated that the court has a duty to ensure that justice is served and rights of accused persons are protected.
He adduced that considering the submission made on behalf of the prosecution and defence, it was plain that the circumstances of the case and the timing of the application compelled him to hold that it was desirable to separate the pending charges from the economic crime charge.
He further stated that he held that proceedings on all counts - one and two together with count three, would prejudice or embarrass the accused persons in their defence.
In all the circumstances, he posited, he rejected the application made by the prosecution and upheld the objections of the defence.
He subsequently struck out the charge of economic crime and further said the court would proceed with counts one and two.
At this juncture, Sergeant 3560 Colley rose and told the court that they were going to appeal against the ruling.
The case was adjourned till 9 December 2014.
Magistrate Tabally also made the same ruling in a similar case.