Saturday, October 2, 2010

EX-KMC MAYOR, LAI CONTEH IN COURT


Prosecutor Wants Conteh to Enter a Plea Bargain
Banjul, The Gambia (TNBES) The North Bank Evening Standard has gathered that Mr. Lai Conteh, a former Mayor of the Kanifing Municipal Council who is charged with Economic Crime and Fraud on Monday 11th January appeared before Justice Moses Richards of the Criminal Division of the Banjul High Court.
According to the Foroyaa Newspaper in Banjul, when the case was called, the Deputy Director of Public Prosecution (DDPP), Milkalive Abdoulie told the Court that the State is ready and is proposing a plea bargain for the defence to decide or make a choice. He added that they are waiting to hear a plea bargain proposal from the side of the defence.
One of the defence Counsels, Lamin S. Camara argued that the only thing they are proposing is the acquittal and discharge of Mr. Conteh of all the charges proffered against him. Camara added that all that they want from the State is to drop all the charges against the accused person.
Camara argued that the State cannot just tell them to propose a plea bargain like that.
The Newspaper reported on Thursday 14th January, 2010 that Justice Richards intervened and urged both sides to come to terms with a proposal of a plea bargain. Richards stated that the case had been registered with his Court some three months before Mr. Conteh appeared before him. He added that the State cannot keep the charges hanging without the accused knowing his fate.


He posited that he does not want the case to before him to drag as it has done years ago.
“The State has nothing on their table and are now considering a plea bargain. They want the defence to come up with a proposal for a plea bargain. Plea bargain means both sides going home with something. Mr. Conteh needs to know his fate. It is now coming to seven to eight years, he is still docked in one case,” Foroyaa quoted Justice Richards as saying.
Justice Richards told Lawyer Camara to inform Mr. Antouman Gaye, the Senior Council in the defence case, to come up with a proposal for a plea bargain. He adjourned the case till 25th January, for the defence to file a plea bargain proposal and serve the State.
The investigative Tabloid said: “It could be recalled that the former Mayor of KMC, Lao Conteh was standing trial at the Banjul High Court on charges of “Economic Crime, Fraud, Resisting Arrest and Willfully Obstructing an Officer in the course of executing his duties”.
According to the Newspaper, Justice Haddy Roche dismissed all charges against him. But the State was not satisfied with the Court’s decision and decided to appeal at the Appeal Court. The Court of Appeal ordered a retrial which is now before Justice Richards. VOL:2 ISSN:28

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