Martial. This was news to the Foroyaa reporter who proceeded to conduct investigation to establish the facts. He was informed that proceedings were being held at the Fajara Barracks. He could not get clear information from the vicinity of the Barracks. The Daily Observer reported that it was taking place at the Yundum Baracks. The Foroyaa reporter rushed to the location but was informed that no court Martial was taking place in that particular location. The reporter tried to get correct information from the army PRO but was informed he has travelled. The rumours are rife that some current members of the armed forces are on trial despite earlier claims that the insurgency was perpetrated by ex- servicemen alone. Foroyaa would like the authorities to issue a Press Release and clearly state what is going on. A person administering a case must make pronouncement in an open court that a case is to be heard in camera. Section 24 subsection (1) of the Constitution states that “Any court or other adjudicating authority established by law for the determination of any criminal trial or matter, or protection for the determination of the existence or extent of any civil right or obligation, shall be independent and impartial; ……..” Subsection (2) of the same section adds: “All proceedings of every court and proceedings relating to the determination of the existence or extent of civil rights or obligations before any other authority including the announcement of the decision of the court or other authority, shall be held in public.” Section 109 of the Armed Forces Act states “(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, a court-martial shall sit in open court and in the presence of the accused.” However a court may order a sitting to be held in camera “to such extent as it may consider necessary or expedient in circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice ….” In the same vein nothing “shall affect the power of a court-martial to sit in camera on the ground that it is necessary and expedient in the interests of the administration of justice to do so;” This however must be the decision of the adjudicating authority pronounced and known to the public. A court-martial is not the final authority. “An appeal shall lie as of right to the Court of Appeal from final decisions of courts-martial.” Since any convicted person would have a right to appeal it would be a mark of transparency  to handle such cases in an open court. We will follow the matter to its logical conclusion. ]]>

Join The Conversation