Friday, July 15, 2011

LEGAL AFFAIRS

Former Daily Observer Editor Charged, Granted Bail

Nanama Okocha Keita
More News…
  • Sanneh’s trial: Witness Absent, No Proceedings
  • Industrial Tribunal Hears Claim of Over D1M Wrongful Dismissal
  • Cocaine trial: Defence claims suspects has no case to answer
  • NAPSA Executive Trial Adjourn Under Directives
  • NDEA MURDER TRIAL: Witness Denies Being Discharged To Lie Against Comrades


Former Daily Observer Editor Charged, Granted Bail
Nanama Okocha Keita, former Sport Editor of the pro-government Daily Observer newspaper has been charged with giving false information to a public servant and granted bail for D100, 000 on Tuesday.
Mr Keita was arraigned before the Banjul Magistrate Court presided by Alagbe Taiwo Ade. He has pleaded “not guilty” to the charge brought against him by the police and subsequently granted a bail bond of D100, 000 with one Gambian surety on July 5, 2011.
On Tuesday, the Police Prosecutor applied for an adjournment in order to call his witnesses, while defence counsel Lamin S. Camara applied for bail under Section 991 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Both applications have been granted by Magistrate Ade.
Meanwhile the statement of offence states: “Giving false information to a public servant Contrary to Section 114 (a) of the Criminal Code Cap 10:01 Volume III Laws of The Gambia 1990.”
While the particulars of offence stated that Nanama Keita sometime in the month of May 2011, in the city of Banjul, Republic of The Gambia, he presented a petition letter to the Office of the President at the State House claiming for wrongful dismissal as Deputy Editor In Chief and Head of Sport Desk and financial malpractice of the Managing Director of The Daily Observer Newspaper, knowing the same to be false thereby committed an offence.
The hearing continues on 19th July, 2011.


Sanneh’s trial: Witness Absent, No Proceedings
The absence of the witness in the false information charge against journalist Mr Dodou Sanneh means the trial could not proceed on Tuesday.
The Prosecutor, Superintendent Sainey Joof applied for an adjournment on grounds that his witness is sick. Mr. Sanneh, who is not represented by a counsel, did not object to the application, and the proceeding was subsequently adjourned till 12th July, 2011.
Dodou Sanneh, a former Reporter for the State-funded Gambia Radio and Television Service (GRTS) is standing trial at the Banjul Magistrate Court presided by Magistrate Manyima Bojang.
He is charged with “giving false information to a public servant”, which according to the prosecutor, contradicts Section 114 (a) of the Criminal Code Cap 10:01 Volume III Laws of The Gambia 1990.
He has since taken his plea of not-guilty and he is without a defence counsel.
Dodou Sanneh was dismissed by the State-owned broadcaster, GRTS on 8th September 2006, while covering the Presidential campaign of the United Democratic Party (UDP). He was reinstated within a week and giving 20 days working leave, only to be dismissed again on 20th November 2006.
He took his dismissal as unlawful termination and wrote a petition to the Office of the President in this regard. However, what emanates from it is a charge of “giving false information to a public servant”.


Cocaine trial: Defence claims suspects has no case to answer
Defence counsel Lamin S. Camara yesterday claimed that the nine foreign nationals who are standing trial in connection with cocaine estimated to worth more than $1billion, have no case to answer.
This, he said, is based on grounds that none of the ingredients of the charges has been proven by the prosecution.
The nine are standing trial on 10 Counts of being in possession of prohibited drugs, conspiracy, dealing in drugs, being in possession of fire arms without proper authority, having fire arms without lawful authority, and importation of fire arms without valid license. They have since pleaded not guilty to the charges.
On Tuesday July 12, Lamin S. Camara, in a “no-case-to-answer” submission, told the Narcotic Court in Banjul presided by Magistrate Alagbe Taiwo Ade that Section 166 of the Criminal Procedure Code empower the court to look at the evidence produced by the prosecution. To see whether their evidence is sufficient enough to require the accused persons enter their defence.
“If the minimum bench mark is not met the court has the jurisdiction to acquit and discharge the accused persons,” he argued.
He stressed that the no case to answer submission will be uphold by the court if the three conditions were met, when none of the ingredients has been proven, when the testimonies of the witnesses are unreliable, which no credible court can admit and when witnesses are discredited under cross- examination.
He adds that to prove a prima facie case is not to establish multiple witnesses, but by clarity of the evidence and the charges preferred against the accused persons has not been establish by the prosecution.
He submits that the alleged 2.5 Kilograms of cocaine was not found in the possession of any of the accused persons and there is no constructive possession. The 3rd witness Karamo Saidykhan has said that he did not confirm the amounts of bags and the 8th witness said after the discovery of the drugs they took two of the accused person to show them the drugs.
On Count three: dealing in prohibited drugs, Camara argued that there is no evidence before the court that the 1st accused Ghazi and eight others acquire drugs within and outside The Gambia after17 witnesses have testified.
He said count four and five related only to Juan Carlos Sanchez (5th accused) being in possession of fire arms without proper authority. There is no evidence that Juan Carlos is having in possession of fire arms in his room that was search initially by nine officers and they found noting.
He said the discovery of the weapons was not in the presence of Juan as he was in detention at the time. No witness testified that they found his weapons in Juan Carlos Sanchez’s house, the counsel said.
From Count Six-ten, he said the prosecution has failed woefully and the ingredients of the offences has not been addressed and there is no evidence before this court that the arms are from Guinea Bissau.
“My lord it is my submission that the prosecution has not made a prima facie case and the prosecution’s case is suspicious and suspicion does not amount to proven,” Camara submitted.
In fact, he said there is no evidence from count one-ten where it is stated that the 1st accused, Rudy Ahmad Ghazi and eight others were found in possession of hard drugs, dealing and conspire to deal in hard drugs. He urge the court to acquitted and discharge them respectively.
The case continues on the 14th July, 2011.


NDEA MURDER TRIAL: Witness Denies Being Discharged To Lie Against Comrades
While under cross-examination, Matarr Conteh, the 1st Prosecution Witness in the trial of two officials of The Gambia Drug Agency, has denied that he was discharged by the court in order to lie against his fellow narcotic officers.
Mr. Conteh was being cross-examined on July 4 by lawyer Badou S. Conteh, counsel for the 1st accused Ebou Low, who is facing a charge of murder alongside Eku P.L. Grant at the Special Criminal Division of the High Court in Banjul. They have since pleaded not guilty.
Asked how he managed to saw the scuffle between the Low and the deceased, Conteh told the Court that he was not far and that he did not intervene. He also said that at the time of the search, some suspected cannabis was found in the house of the deceased, Cherno Alieu Suwareh.
According to him, Suwareh grab the suspected cannabis, put it in his mouth and swallowed it. Adding that during the scuffle, the decease only sustains a bruise, he was detained in the charge office of the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA) for a week and noting was wrong with him.
The two, Ebou Low and Eku P.L Grant are standing trial on one count of murder Contrary to Section 187 and punishable under Section 188 of the Criminal Code Volume III Laws of The Gambia. The trial continues on 6th July, 2011.

Industrial Tribunal Hears Claim of Over D1M Wrongful Dismissal
On Monday, Elear Gibba, a former employee of Bizarred/Wishes, a business entity, has put forward a claim of more than D1 million before the Industrial Tribunal in the Kanifing Municipality.
The claimant, Gibba and Sarrah Neal Hamoud and Ali Mahmoud Hamoud (1st and 2nd defendants) appeared before Magistrate Clement Ngubi on July 4. Gibba’s claim is linked to general damages, personal injuries, pain, and suffering, and loss of amenities as a result of the injuries she sustained on July 21, 2010 by reason of the negligence and or breach of contract of employment and of the terms thereof on the part of the defendants.
The claimant is demanding D237, 000 being damages for the unlawful termination of his employment; and the sum of D1, 870 being arrears of salary for the month of June 2011.
Gibba also claimed for the sum of D3, 950 being payment in lieu of one month leave, and the sum of D309, 000 dalasis being 1560 hours overtime for a period of 5 years.
Elear also claim D10, 533 being payment for public holidays worked covering a period of 5 years, and interest at the rate of 25 percent per annum from November 1, 2009 to the date of judgment and thereafter at the rate of four percent to date of payment and cost.
Counsel Rachael .Y. Mendy is represented the claimant conditionally, while Pap Cheyassin Secka is representing the 2nd defendant, Ali Mahmoud Hamoud.


NAPSA Executive Trial Adjourn Under Directives
Prosecutor Sergeant Manga on 5th July, 2011 applied for an adjournment of the criminal trial against three executive members of the National Patriotic Students Association (NAPSA).
It is an instruction from his boss; the police prosecutor told the Banjul Magistrate Court presided by Magistrate Alagbe Taiwo Ade on Tuesday.
Babucarr Jallow, Denis T.  Gomez and Jarga E. Gaye, all of whom are executive members of the pro-government student body, NAPSA, are standing trial on charges of “Conspiracy to commit felony, forgery and Uttering false document”.
They have since denied any wrong doing.
The defence counsels were not in court. They told the Court during the last sitting that they are in a negotiation and if it materializes, they will communicate with the prosecutor.
However, the Prosecutor’s response was that he is not aware of any negotiations and he is ready to proceed with a witness. The Case resumes on 13th July, 2011.
  • Source: The Voice Newspaper

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