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Judge warns against further delay in NIA 9 case

Dec 9, 2020, 12:49 PM | Article By: Alagie Baba

The trial judge in the ongoing criminal case against former director of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and six others on Monday 7 December warned the case should not delay any further.

Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara’s comment came as the State attempted to get a two week adjournment in order to get a medical report concerning Lamin Darboe’s health status.

Darboe has been missing in court for several court sittings owing a fracture on both legs. He was brought to court prison by warders in a wheelchair and was helped to walk to get to his seat.

“How are you now?” Justice Kumba asked.

“I am okay,” Darboe replied.

Darboe has broken legs and cannot walk by himself. This came about after he sustained electric shock at Mile II, where he is on detention. Before this setback, the case was stayed by the court following an application for stay of proceeding by the prosecution which was granted by the court. The stay was overruled by the Court of Appeal and the trial judge was ordered to resume the case as it caused unnecessary delay to the accused persons. Since then, the case has not proceeded.

The long standing trial began in 2017 and has suffered several delays.

All the accused persons were present in court on Monday 7 December including Lamin Darboe, but the case couldn’t proceed due to two reasons. The first being the absence of lawyers from the National Agency for Legal Aid (NALA) and the other being the application by Lawyer Antouman A.B. Gaye that the court should get a medical report indicating that Lamin Darboe, one of the accused persons is fit to stand trial.

Lawyer Gaye for the prosecution insisted that they have to obtain the medical report before the case continues.

One of the accused persons, Yankuba Badjie informed the court through his Lawyer that the State has never taken Lamin Darboe to hospital. Badjie said Darboe was left at Mile 2 like that.

Lawyer Gaye sought an adjournment for two weeks to enable him secure a medical report through the State law office, but all the defence lawyers objected, saying it should be one week considering the delay the case has suffered.

The trial judge said as much as the medical report is very important, the case should not delay any further so she adjourned the case to 14 December 2020 at 1 p.m. for Sheikh Omar Jeng to enter his defence. She stressed that the State should endeavour to get the medical report on or before the next adjourned date. A hearing notice will be served to NALA to ensure that they appear in the case.

The accused persons are facing 25 criminal charges before the High Court including conspiracy to commit felony, assault causing serious bodily harm, murder and making false documents amongst others. The accused persons all denied any wrongdoing.

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