Tuesday, June 7, 2011

AT THE COURTS…


  • ‘Gambians are lazy black monkeys’
  • Cassamace rebel claims being robbed by Gambia Army
  • Personnel of police intervention unit sentence to death
  • Lower court lacks jurisdiction to try economic crime suspect
  • GNOC trial: No reply by prosecution on ‘no case to answer’
  • Bakau resident sentenced to death
  • Badjie’s robbery trial hold-back
Cassamace rebel claims being robbed by Gambia Army
Sang Sambou, a dissident from the Cassamace Region, Southern Senegal on Monday told the Banjul High Court, that they were “robbed” by Gambia’s security personnel when they were arrested.
On May 30, 2011, Sambou, the 11th accused opened his defence before Justice Enwa Ikpala of the special Criminal Division of the High Court. Sang Sambou and 16 other rebels are standing trial on charges of “illegal entry into Gambia” and “possession of fire arms”. They have since denied any wrong doing and are not represented by a counsel.
Sambou, a native of Kuba Village in Cassamace, admits he is a rebel fighting for the separation (independence) Cassamace from main land Senegal. He said on October 2, 2010, he and his comrades were attacked by a rival rebel group resulting to their flee into Gambia territory.
However, he said they were arrested by Gambia security personnel (military officers) at Bajana and his bag, a mobile phone, jean trouser, and 5000 Dalasi was taken away from him by the arresters, Gambia’s military forces.
At this point, the Director of Special Litigation Daniel O. Kulo applied for an adjournment because he had another case to attend, however, the presiding Judge, Joseph Enwa Ikpala overruled the application and insisted that the sitting most proceed.
Nonetheless, Daniel O. Kulo stormed out of court, but ordered his Deputy Director Simoe Abi to step in for him. Abi was also attending another matter at a different courtroom.
The 12th defence witness Basiru Jammeh, a native of Mbulomp in the Cassamance region also opened his defence on Monday.
According to him, their rivals are being supported by the Senegalese Government and this act did not go down well with their group, which is fighting for the liberation of the southern region.
He also claimed that CFA7000 and a mobile phone were emptied from his pocket by Gambia’s military when they were arrested. He told the court that he answered in the negative, when asked by the military if he had an entry permit into The Gambia.
He said his answer resulted to “serious torture” prompting him to disclose where they hide their weapons.
The 13th defence witness Seedy Sanyang, a native of Mamurda Jola in Cassamance also claim the he was robbed of CFA4000, 7000 Dalasis, a mobile phone, and a Senegalese Identity Card. Sanyang had spent 19 years as a voluntary rebel fighter.
Tumani Manga, the 14th defence witness, a native of Yeap Village in Cassamace also testified. He also narrated events similar to those of the 11th accused or defence witness.
Hearing continues on June 8, 2011.

Personnel of police intervention unit sentence to death
Two personnel of the police intervention unit (PIU), Modou Colley and Bakary Demba has been handed a death sentence after being found guilty of killing Dembo Sibi.
On May 30, 2011, Justice Emanuel Nkea of the Basse High Court, the Upper River Region convicted the two officers on a charge of torture causing the death of Sibi.
Earlier on, they pleaded with the court to tamper justice with leniency as they are both breadwinners of their families.
Justice Nkea in his judgment said it was established by a postmortem that the decease died as a result of torture.
“Taking into account that the duty of the police officer is to protect life, it cannot be accepted that people who are entrusted with the duty to protect life abused their duty and go and cease life,” Justice Nkea stressed.
“The right to life must be protected and the Constitution of the land must be respected by all and sundry.”
Colley and Demba were charged along with two others, Babucarr Fatty and Babucarr Jobe; however, the later were acquitted and discharged on the fact that the prosecution did not prove any case against them.
They were cleared of being involved directly in the death of the deceased, Dembo Sibi.
On this ground, Justice Nkea granted bail to Jobe and Fatty to the tune of D500, 000 with one Gambia surety each who must prove an affidavit of means. He also ruled that they must be reinstated in the police should they fulfill the bail condition.

Lower court lacks jurisdiction to try economic crime suspect
In the trial of former Managing Director of Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation, the defence counsel Lamin S. Camara has told the Banjul Magistrate Court that it lacks the jurisdiction to try Mr. Edward Graham on economic crimes.
Mr. Graham, who is being tried Magistrate Alagbe Taiwo Ade, has since denied charges of economic crimes and abuse of office. He had earlier been exonerated of three counts of economic crimes last month.
On May 30, 2011, counsel Lamin S. Camara applied for an adjournment on grounds that he new to the case and did not have the charge sheet yet, however, he argued that economic crimes can only be tried at the High Court in Banjul and not necessarily by a lower court.
He urged the court to refer the case to the “competent court” adding that the State has the discretion to drop economic crimes charges against the accused person, with the charge of “abuse of office” which the lower court has the jurisdiction to hear.
His arguments were based on Section 5 of the Economic Crime Specific Offence.
When he took his turn, the Director of Public Prosecution Mikailu Abdullahi argued that the Defence Counsel is trying to mislead the Court, adding that regardless of the offence committed, he sees no reason for the matter to be transfer to High Court.
He cited Section 9 of the Economic Crime Decree which stated that the lower court has a jurisdiction to try economic crimes as stated in the charged sheet. The case continues on 2 June, 2011 for ruling.


Beatrice Allen
GNOC trial: No reply by prosecution on ‘no case to answer’
Prosecutor Inspector Darboe has told the Kanifing District Magistrate Court that the prosecution has ‘no reply’ to the ‘no-case-to-answer’ submission by the defence in the theft charge of three senior officials of Gambia National Olympic Committee (GNOC).
The trio, Beatrice Allen, 1st Vice President; Mr. Ousman Wadda, Treasurer; and Muhammad Janneh, Accounting Officer, are standing trial on one count of theft before Magistrate Sheriff B. Tabally.
They have since denied the allegation brought against them by police in the Capital, Banjul.
On 31 May, 2011, when the case was called, Inspector Darboe told the court that the prosecution has no reply to the submission made by the defence and has chosen to rely on evidence adduced by the prosecution witnesses.
The “no case to answer” was submitted by Counsel Ida Drammeh during the previous sitting on May 23. She submitted that all the prosecution witnesses have stated that D34, 000 has “not been stolen” by the accused person and without doubt the accused persons are innocent. She urges the Court to acquit and discharge them.
The trial continues on 13, June 2011 for ruling.

‘Gambians are lazy black monkeys’
 “Gambians are lazy black monkeys including your president” is a statement claimed to be criminal by the police and Mr. Maliesh D. Bhojwani, an Indian, has been sentence on it to a fine of D1, 000 in default to serve three months imprisonment.
He was found guilty of “breach of peace” on 31 May, 2011 by Kanifing District Magistrate Court presided by Magistrate Sheriff B. Tabally.
Magistrate Tabally in his judgment said the prosecution has called three witnesses to support their case. He noted that the defence counsel in his address to the Court said the prosecution failed to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt.
He said the prosecutor responds was that the charge is genuine and that the defence failed woefully.
“I am therefore satisfied with the prosecution witnesses and found him guilty,” Magistrate Tabally said.
Mr. Bhojwani has since February 2011 denied allegations the he called “Gambians lazy black monkeys including President Jammeh”. His Counsel Musa Bachilly in his plea of mitigation said the convict is a first time offender and for this reason, he urges the Court to temper justice with mercy.
He said a first time offender should be given chance to reform and the convict is a businessman and he has never been at fault under any law.
Batchilly said the convict is alone in the country and urges the court not to impose a custodial sentence on him since has responsibilities back home in India. He finally urges the court to use its discretion to caution and discharged the convict or gives him minimum fine. 

Bakau resident sentenced to death
The Special Criminal Division of the High Court in Banjul have found Yusupha Conteh, a resident of Bakau guilty of killing one Mustapha Camara and sentenced him to death on Monday.
Conteh is said to have caused the death of Camara with malice after hitting him with a wooden plank on 13 November, 2009 at Bakau Wasulung Kunda. He had earlier on pleaded “not-guilty” to the charge.
On May 30, 2011, Justice Enwa Ikpala noted that the prosecution has called 5 witnesses and tendered two exhibits before the court, while the defence called two witnesses.
He said according to the evidence adduce by Yusupha Conteh (the accused person), he admitted inflicting the injuries on the victim by hitting him with a wooden plank.
He said both parties had agreed that the victim was found stretched out at the gate of the accused person. He also noted that the accused admitted stabbing the victim with a knife and also hitting him with a wooden plank for several times.   
“I agree with the prosecution that the accused person confession in exhibit B is the fact of the matter, I am convinced that the prosecution has proven their case beyond all reasonable doubt that the accused person causes the death of the decease and the law will not permit the accused person to go free,” Justice Ikpala said.
M. Assamota, the defence counsel of the convict pleaded that the convict is a young man; he has conducted himself throughout the proceeding with a remorseful approach to the court and further urge the court to temper justice with mercy.
“I have no other option other than sentencing him to death,” Ikpala said.

The Embattled former IGP Badjie
Badjie’s robbery trial hold-back
The robbery trial involving the erstwhile Inspector General of Police Ensa Badjie and Chief Superintendent of Prison Ali Ceesay was deferred on Monday due to the prosecution’s absence.
The two are standing trial on 50 counts, notably among them is robbery. The trial initiated by the State since last year is presided over by Justice Joseph Enwa Ikpala at the Special Criminal Division of the High Court.
Earlier on May 30, when the case was called, State prosecutor Mikailu Abdullahi announces his presence but defence Counsel Borry Touray was nowhere to be found.
The court stand down for over an hour and when it resumed the defence counsel appeared by then the state counsel had left the court to attend other matters.
Borry informed the court that he wanted the second accused to opened his defence but that did not go down well with the presiding Judge Ikpala who argues that they agreed on time so they cannot continue due to the fact that the state counsel also left to attend other matters at other court room. Hearing continues on June 6, 2011. Courtesy of The Voice Newspaper

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