Oct 31, 2012, 10:08 AM
Defence Absence Delays Proceedings
The trial of five Gambians and 11 Senegalese arraigned for alleged terrorism resumed yesterday before Justice Moses Richards, at the Special Criminal Court in Banjul.
The accused persons are: Ousman Jarju, Mansour Jatta, Alasanna Thomas Jarju, Fabia Nyafunah, Abdoulie Jarju, Maulud Badjie, Lasanna Prosper Sambou, Dawda Jatta, Pa Ousman Badjie, Samsideen Jammeh, Munimu Bah, Kebba Seckan and Sam Kambai.
They were indicted on five counts, ranging from conspiracy to commit felony, entering The Gambia without a permit, theft, illegal possession of firearms and neglect of official duty.
Meanwhile, the case that was scheduled to continue on a voire-dire (trial within a trial) of the 15th and 16th accused persons could not continue as expected, due to the absence of one of the defence counsel, Edrissa Sissoho, who represents the 15th accused person.
When the case was called, it was noticed that defence counsel Sissoho was not in court, prompting Justice Richards to phone to ask about his whereabouts.
"Edi the court is sitting and waiting for you," Richards said over the phone.
"One of my relatives passed away, and I am presently in the North Bank Region, Fass Njaga Choi," Sissoho informed the court over the phone, adding, "Your Lordship I’m asking for an adjournment."
Justice Richards then extended his condolences.
"I am very much concerned about the condition of the accused persons, without their case proceeding."
Subsequently, he adjourned the case to 18 March 2010. The state was represented by Principal State Counsel S H Bakum.
On count one, the offence alleged was that all the accused persons, on diverse dates and places in The Gambia, conspired to carry out an act of terrorism in a manner prejudicial to public security and national defence.
Count two indicated that Maulud Badjie, Lasanna Prosper Jarju, Dawda Jatta, and Pa Ousman Badjie on diverse dates and places entered The Gambia without a valid pass or permit.
Counts three stated that, Kemo Conteh in the year 2006, at Ramana Hotel, stole from Bankan, an American national, a pistol.
Count four said that Kemo Conteh at diverse places in the Kanifing Municipality unlawfully possessed a firearm.
Count five stated that Kebba Seckan, being a public officer with the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) neglected his official duty by failing to give vital information on illegal dealings of firearms to the agency.
Count six stated that Maulud Badjie, Lasanna Prosper Sambou, Dawda Jatta, and Pa Ousman Badjie at diverse dates and places in The Gambia unlawfully possessed a firearm (with four live ammunitions) without a valid licence or permit.