#Article (Archive)

State witnesses subpoenaed in ‘homosexuals’ case

Feb 17, 2015, 10:48 AM | Article By: Halimatou Ceesay

The Banjul High Court presided over by Justice Abi yesterday subpoenaed the state witnesses to appear in court on the next adjournment date, in the trial of two Gambians accused of engaging in homosexual acts.

The accused persons are Momarr Sowe and Alieu sarr.

LS Camara together with Gaye-Coker and S. Jahateh led the defence team.

Meanwhile, the trial of the third accused, Modou Lamin Bittaye, is hanging pending his bail application.

When the case was called for hearing, the state, represented by A.M. Yusuf, told the court that the matter was set for hearing, but he had some difficulty in reaching his witnesses.

He asked the court to serve the witnesses with a subpoena for them to come to testify in court.

The trial judge then asked him to name the witnesses he wanted to be served with subpoena.

He then named the witnesses as Sainey Camara, Kalilou Jammeh, and Foday Bojang.

The defence team led by LS Camara said they were not objecting to the application.

However, he said they wanted to apply to the court for the prosecution to serve the defence with a copy of the statements of the witnesses, the voluntary and cautionary statements of the accused persons, exhibits and all other documents the prosecution wished to rely on to prove their case.

He said they based their application on section 24 subsection 3c of the constitution, which states that every person charged with criminal offence should be given adequate time and facilities to prepare his/ her defence.

Camara added that what they have before the court was not an indictment, but a charge sheet, further stating that the state has the legal obligation to provide defence to everything that is in their custody.

In response, state counsel A.M Yusuf argued that they had provided and served the defence with complete information.

He said they would provide the defence with the statements of the accused persons, but they would not give them the witnesses’ statements because they were not yet tendered in court.

He said the indictment contained the charge sheet, list of witnesses and the summary of evidence that would be given in court by the witnesses.

In his ruling, Justice Abi said he had listened to both sides and had agreed with the defence that both parties should have access to all the documents.

He said the accused persons are entitled to all material in their case to enable them prepare for their defence.

He added that he would excuse himself from the witness statements since the evidence was not before the court.

He urged the state to give the voluntary and cautionary statements of the accused persons to the defence, so the defence might apply for the witnesses’ statements and all other documents in court during the trial.

The judge issued a subpoena to be served on the state witnesses - Kalilou Jammeh, Sainey Camara and Foday Bojang - to appear in court on the next adjournment date.

The case was adjourned to 24 February 2015.