Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Justice Richards Puts his foot down over Detention of Accused for 9 Years


·       Banjul, The Gambia (TNBES) One Sarjo Jarra (alias Pa Jarra), who has been in State custody at the remand wing of Mile 2 Prison for 9 years, on Tuesday appeared before Justice Moses Richards of the Banjul High Court.
Pa Jarra was mistakenly arrainged before the Court in light of the fact that the Prison Wardens mistook him for another Pa Jarra who has a case to answer before Justice Richards.
On Monday 18th January Justice Richards ordered for the prison authorities to bring in court one Pa Jarra, whose passport size photo was attached to his case file. on Tuesday 19th January 2010, prison wardens brought an old man called Pa Jarra, who has been in their custody for years without his case proceeding. When Justice Richards was shown the photo on the case file, he said that the photo is not him. The prison warden told the Court that he is the only Pa Jarra in their custody.
When Justice Richards asked him how long he has spent in custody, Jarra told the Court that he was arrested in August 2000, on allegation of rape. He said since the only two witnesses have testified in his trial. He said he was arrainged in Basse and in Banjul on the charges of rape. He said he could recall that he was being tried before Justice Paul, Justice Haddy Roche, Justice Dordzie and lately Justice Wowo of the High Court. He added that so far he did not enter the box to give evidence.
Both Lawyer Lamin S. Camara and Assan Martins raised their concerns on the violation of the fundamental rights of old man. Camara said he was aware of the case at Basse where only two witnesses gave evidence in the trial. He told the Court that he would personally take up the case to defend him without any cost.
Lawyer Martins said he heard about the dilemma of the old man and that he is willing to sacrifice to defend him. Martins said the case has not progressed before Justice Wowo for almost six months now. He said he has decided to consult Justice Wowo in Chamber about the dilemma of the old man.
Justice Richards stated that he is a man of justice and cannot stand and watch the old man to continue to be incarcerated in detention. He ordered the principal registrar to take note of jarra's concerns and forward it to the Chief Justice. He stated that he would even give evidence to urge the Chief Justice to use his judicial powers to release Jarra from detention.
Lawyer Lamin Jobarteh also added his voice on the issue in support of the old man. He added that it would be more convenient for the Chief Justice to have a quick idea about the whole case. VOL:2 ISSN:48 (Foroyaa)

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