By Rohey Jadama
Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, Party Leader of United Democratic Party (UDP)
has again told the Banjul High court presided over by Justice Eunice
O. Dada that he will not participate in any trial where his rights are
infringed.Mr. Darboe made this remark when he was asked by the court
interpreter whether he wished to open his defence in a trial involving
him and 19 other supporters of his party.
He continued, “We are accused persons unrepresented by counsels. The
court had earlier indicated that we can defend ourselves. The Gambia
is a place where the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
has its headquarters. I am sure the judges in Nigeria stood by their
citizens and protect their rights. In The Gambia we have a judge
who does not respect the rights of the citizens”.
“Our rights are being denied by the court that should protect our
rights. I do not expect this court to take away those rights. I will
not participate in any trial where my rights are infringed”, said
This evoked clapping and murmuring in the courtroom from the party
militants and sympathizers in attendance. The Court said people were clapping and that it is inconsistent with the decorum of the court and warned that the court won’t tolerate it again and if it happens again they will not be allowed in the subsequent sittings.
The other accused persons are Kemeseng Jammeh, Femi Peters, Lamin Dibba, Lamin Jatta, Yahya Bah, Baboucarr Camara, Fakebba Colley, Ismaila
Ceesay, Samba Kinteh, Dodou Ceesay, Samba Kinteh, Mamudou Manneh,
Nfamara Kuyateh, Fanta Darboe, Lamin Njie, Juguna Suso, Momodou L.K
Sanneh, Yaya Jammeh and Masaneh Lalo Jawla.
Justice Dada in her ruling held that the response of the first accused
has been noted.
The court interpreter was ordered by the Judge to interpret in
wollof to the 2nd-20th accused whether they wish to open their
defence or whether they will wait for their lawyers. However, the
court interpreter Mr Camara was heard saying he has sore throat.
He later left saying he was going to the restroom and came back with the
Judicial Secretary who was seen talking to the judge. Justice Dada
later informed the court that the Judicial Secretary has replaced Mr.
Camara with P.M. Bojang an interpreter.
When P.M Bojang interpreted the question to the 2nd-20th accused persons as to whether they wish to open their defence or wait for their
lawyers, but they all remained silence.
Justice Dada in her ruling held that the response of the 2nd-20th
accused persons is recorded as mute.
At this juncture, the Hadi Saleh Barkun, the Director of Public
Prosecutions (DPP) told the court that in view of the position taken by
the accused persons not to open their defence, he is applying for 7
days to file their written address.
The court interpreter was again ordered by the court to ask the
accused persons how many days they will need to file their addresses.
However, before the court interpreter asked them, Lawyer Darboe
stood up and said, ”I will not contradict myself by filing a written
address. I earlier said if I am convicted I will say why sentence
should not be passed on me”.
While adjourning the case till 12 July, 2016 at 12noon for adoption of
addressees, Justice Dada granted 7 days to the prosecution to file
their written address.