By Rohey Jadama
The Supreme Court of the Gambia is supposed to deliver judgment in the appeal case of the former Chief of Defence Staff of The Gambia Armed Forces Lt. General Lang Tombong Tamba and ex- Commander of naval staff, Rear Admiral Sarjo Fofana on 6th May 2015.
This was disclosed at yesterday’s proceeding in a crowded courtroom which was presided over by a panel of five judges, headed by the Chief Justice, Justice Ali Nawaz Chowhan, after counsels for the appellants and the respondent adopted their respective briefs that were filed.
Sheriff M. Tambadou, defence counsel for Lang Tombong Tamba, told the Court before the adoption of the brief, he wished to amend his brief which was filed on 10th November, 2014. “I refer the court to paragraph 5 of page 2. I wrote with the permission of this court, I proposed to argue ground 2 and 3 instead it should be ground 1 and 2”, Lawyer Tambadou.
He added “I wish to adopt the brief filed on behalf of Lang Tombong Tamba, having regards for the arguments, I urged my lord to grant the appeal and discharge the appellant.”
Lamin K. Mboge, counsel for Sarjo Fofana, told the Court that he had filed a rejoinder on 28th April on behalf of his client and that with the kind permission of the Court, he wished to adopt the appeal brief dated 10th November 2014 and the rejoinder on the point of law dated 28th April 2015. He urged the court to grant the appeal and discharge the appellant.
For his part, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Hadi Saleh Barkum, told the court that he wished to adopt the respondent’s brief which was filed 18th January 2015. “My lord, I intend to adopt them all and I pray for the appeal to be dismissed,” submitted DPP.
At this stage, the panel of judges adjourned the appeal to 6th May for judgment.
Both appellants are challenging the decision of the high court in Banjul which convicted and sentenced them for treason.
Upon their conviction and sentence by the said court, both appellants filed an appeal before the Gambia Court of Appeal against their conviction and sentence by the high court but which was dismissed. This has led them to appeal to the Supreme Court.
The two appellants had appeared before the same court on 11 November 2014 upon which it was adjourned sine die to allow the filing of papers for the appeal.
In a crowded courtroom filled by the family members amidst a heavy security presence, the two appellants were led away in hand cuffs and leg shackles to a waiting vehicle. Relatives were seen crying as the two waved at them in the presence of numerous onlookers.
Lang Tombong and Sarjo Fofana were found guilty on all four counts of treason related charges regarding the 2006 foiled coup plot.
The presiding judge sentenced Tamba and Fofana as follows: 20 years for conspiracy, 20 years for treason and 10 years for each of the two counts of concealment of treason.
Since the sentences run concurrently, both men will spend 20 years in jail for these offences.