By Rohey Jadama
The trial involving Mr. Yankuba Badjie and eight former officials of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), could not proceed yesterday May 21st 2018, as Lawyers for the 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 9thaccused persons, were absent from Court.
When the case was called before Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara of the Banjul High Court, Lawyers Antouman AB Gaye, Rachel Mendy and Combeh Gaye, announced their presence for the State, whilst Lawyer Christopher Mene appeared for the 1st accused and Lawyer S. Fatty, appeared for the 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th accused persons respectively.
The accused persons Louis Gomez, former Deputy Director, Saikou Omar Jeng, former director of Operations, Baboucarr Sallah, Haruna Susso, Yusupha Jammeh, Tamba Masireh, Lamin Darboe and Lamin Lang Sanyang, were also present.
They are standing trial on twenty-five charges ranging from murder, grievous bodily harm, conspiracy to commit felony, accessory, forgery, making documents without authority, fabricating evidence, making false death certificate, disobedience to statutory duty, abduction in order to murder and abduction in order to subject persons to grievous harm.
At this point, Antouman AB Gaye, the lead prosecutor, applied for a 10 minutes stand down to give time to the absentee Lawyers. The application was granted.
“We had discussed amongst ourselves. In view of the fact that four Lawyers are absent, makes further proceedings in this case impossible. In the interest of justice, I respectfully apply that the matter be adjourned till tomorrow. There is no excuse for what they have done,” Lawyer Gaye said.
In her ruling, Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara said the Court is ready to proceed but Counsel for the 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 9thaccused persons are absent.
“This Court will not tolerate this and will not hesitate to report or lodge a complaint against those Lawyers before the General Legal Council if it repeats itself again,” ruled Justice Sillah-Camara.
The matter was consequently, adjourned to today May 22nd 2018, at 12 noon for continuation of hearing.