By Rohey Jadama The criminal trial at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court involving Mrs. Veronic Carayol, the Deputy Commissioner of Enforcement at the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA), did not proceed with the adoption of the briefs due to the late serving of the defence counsel by the prosecution.When the case was called yesterday, Tuesday, 16 December, before Magistrate Fatou Darboe, Lawyer Hawa Sisay Sabally, the counsel for the accused, told the Court that she was served with the reply of the prosecution to the defence’s ‘no case to answer’ on the very day. In response, the prosecutor, ASP Musa Camara, said he could not have met the deadline due to his ill health. The trial magistrate, at this juncture, adjourned the case to Thursday, 18th December, 2014 for adoption of briefs. In the written reply on the no case to answer submission by the defence, the prosecution indicated that the accused was arraigned on a four count charge namely, Abuse of Office, False Information, Unlawful Publication and Corrupt Practices. It indicated that the accused pleaded not guilty to all charges except count three which is sent to the Supreme Court and that in the process, the prosecution called six witnesses in support of their case. The prosecution stated that the applicable sections of the criminal procedure code in this regard are sections 166 and 167; that while Section 166 clearly states that at the close of the prosecution’s case, if a case has not been made out sufficiently to require the accused person to make a defense, the court shall acquit him or her; that Section 167 on the other hand states that if a case has been made out sufficiently to require the accused person to make a defense, he or she shall be called upon to defend himself or herself. He argued that the law has set out few guiding principles which the courts need to observe with regards to a no- case submission; that it must be recognized that at this stage of a no-case submission, the trial is not concluded. “At this stage therefore, the court should not concern itself with the credibility of witnesses to their evidence. The court should again at this stage make no observation on the facts. In a nutshell, at the stage of a no-case submission, the court should not ‘weigh the evidence adduced by the prosecution and should also not consider the discrepancies in the testimonies of the witnesses for the prosecution,” stated the prosecutor. The prosecution further argued that what has to be considered at the stage of a no case submission is not whether the evidence against the accused is sufficient to justify conviction, but whether the prosecution has made out a prima facie case requiring at least some explanation from the accused person. “When a submission of no prima facie is made on behalf of an accused person, the trial court is not thereby called upon at that stage to express any opinion on the evidence before it. The court is only called upon to take note and to rule accordingly that there is before the court no legally admissible evidence linking the accused person with the commission of offence with,” it argued. The prosecution stated that it is their submission once again that once the prosecution has established the minimum required proof then such explanation is expected to be heard from the defendant, as such she is required to be called to enter her defense. “In this regard it is our submission that there is nothing on the face of it to show that the evidences presented by the prosecution are so discredited as to render their evidential value worthless. Therefore, since there are legally admissible evidence devoid of hearsay as it is the case at hand, we urge this honorable court to call upon the accused person to enter her defense. We therefore pray that the submission of the counsel to the accused be discountenanced and refused,” concluded the written submission of the prosecution. ]]>
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