By Yankuba Jallow
The ongoing criminal trial involving former senior officials of the defunct National Intelligence Agency, NIA, has suffered a second successive adjournment due to the plea of the defense counsel for first accused person.
The defense who are now the applicants, are opposing the appointment of Antouman A.B Gaye and Co, as the attorneys (prosecutors) in the case but are yet to bring up their application before the court.
The defense counsel, C.E. Mene, who is representing Yankuba Badjie, (1st accused person), applied for an adjournment on two successive dates for reasons he mentioned in court. The Counsel made an application challenging the new state representation of the prosecution headed by Antouman A.B. Gaye and some senior counsels. In the last adjourned date he applied for an adjournment saying there was a new development in the matter. But during yesterday’s sitting, he was said to have travelled out of the jurisdiction of the court.
When the case was called, Counsel B. Secka appeared for the 1st accused person while holding brief for C.E. Mene, who was said to be out of the jurisdiction of the court. He applied for a short adjournment but this was objected to by Counsel A.B. Gaye saying: ‘‘there is no sense made in the application.” He said the court cannot be held at ransom. Counsel M.B. Johnson representing the 3rd accused person, supported the application of B. Secka and urged the court to grant a short adjournment. Justice Kumba Silah said the court cannot be held at ransom and in the interest of justice, it was known to the court when Counsel C.E. Mene will come back.
Counsel Edward A. Gomez, counsel for the second accused person, objected to Lawyer B. Secka’s application saying, if it is given, it will violate the constitutional right of the accuse persons. He cited section 17(1) and in conjunction with section 24 which gives rights to a fair hearing at a reasonable time, in the interest of his client. He said if the application is granted their constitutional rights will be violated saying the case has attracted the attention of many people both in the country and abroad.
In her ruling, Justice Kumba Sillah adjourned the case to July 18, 2017 at 12:00 noon. She held that seven days is given for the defense counsel to file his motion whilst further seven days is given to the prosecution to reply. In addition, three days is given to the applicant (C.E. Mene) to respond.