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Salliba's sister to face more charges

Sep 22, 2010, 12:12 PM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

Fresh charges may likely be preferred against Jankeh Samateh, who is currently standing trial at the Banjul Magistrates' Court on a charge of aiding a prisoner to escape, according to the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, M. Abdullahi.

Ms Jankeh Samateh was reported to have stood as a surety to one Sillaba Samateh, the first prosecution witness in the trial of the ex-IGP Ensa Badjie, Lt.Col Mam Matarr Secka and Major Kuluteh Manneh at the high court in Banjul. DDPP M. Abdullah on Monday 20th September 2010 informed the court that the case was set for hearing, but added that unfortunately the state could not proceed with the matter.

According to the DDPP, the accused person, Jankeh Samateh, was alleged to have been involved in other offences including drug-related offences, and that further investigation commenced, with the likelihood that more charges may be preferred against her upon completion of the investigation.

In these circumstances, the state is applying for an adjournment to allow the investigating authority to complete their investigation, and also in order for the state to come up with comprehensive detailed charges against the accused person.

Responding to the state prosecutor's application for an adjournment, Lamin S. Camara, counsel for Jankeh Samateh, told the court that the defence was objecting to the application for an adjournment.

According to counsel, the accused person has been in detention for 96 days without a single witness being called, adding that it would amount to grave injustice if the accused person was sent back to prison for such an adjournment.

He posited that the state had 96 days to investigate and file charges against the accused person, which according to counsel Camara was more than sufficient time for the state to put their house in order.

Counsel Camara added that the court has the power to grant the accused person bail, if the court is minded to grant the prosecution's application for an adjournment.

He said the accused person has a right to a fair trial within a reasonable period of time as granted in the constitution. Counsel further stated that a substantial charge was filed since 14th July 2010, and that there have been no less than seven adjournments without a single witness ever being called to the case.

He, therefore, urged the court to refuse the prosecution's application for an adjournment or in the alternative the court can grant the accused person bail.

In the end, the trial magistrate Abeke overruled the defence counsel's objection, and adjourned the case to a later date.