By Rohey Jadama State counsel A.M. Yusuf has replied to the ‘No case submission’ of the defence in the ongoing trial involving Mr. Ousman Badjie, the former Works, Transport and Construction minister who is standing trial before Justice Simeon A. Abi of the Banjul High Court yesterday, 26th March, 2015The prosecution argued that a no-case-submission is not admissible under the Economic Crime Act. He said the accused is charged with five counts of economic crimes and negligence and that section 3 of the Economic Crimes Act states that in economic crime cases the court shall hear all evidence of both parties. He said after the close of the prosecution’s case, the defence opted for no-case-to-answer submission. State counsel Yusuf cited section 166 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) which he said, indicated that a ‘no-case-to-answer’ submission applies only to proceedings in the subordinate courts. He said the court therefore cannot entertain a ‘no-case-to-answer’ submission. He said the defence counsel did not cite any section on which to rely on when making his submission. “I am urging the court to overrule the defence’s ‘no-case-to-answer’ submission and call on the accused to enter into his defence,” he said. Counsel added that even if the prosecution did not reply to the ‘no-case-to-answer’ submission, the court ought to take cognizance of section 3 of the Economic Crimes Act. Objecting to the entire submission of the state, Lawyer Camara told the court that the prosecution’s reply on the no-case-submission does not amount to a reply but is rather an objection to the jurisdiction of the court to hear a ‘no-case-to-answer’ submission. Counsel Camara added that an objection on the jurisdiction of the court to a particular procedure has to be made before the adoption of that procedure but one cannot sit until that procedure is adopted by the court and then raised an objection to it. He said a prior preliminary objection would have determined whether the court can hear a ‘no-case-to-answer’ submission, adding that this is why it is called a preliminary objection. The defence counsel said the prosecution’s objection is misconceived because it comes when the submission is already done. Lawyer Camara said the state’s objection on section 3 of the Economic Crimes Act amounts to nothing because the submission has been done already. He said section 3 specifically answers certain sections of the CPC. He said he agreed with the state in so far as the sections are provided under the law. Counsel Camara said the prosecution misconstrued the said sections, adding that a no-case submission is done when the prosecution has been heard and the accused person not heard. The defence counsel said the prosecution argued that he did not cite any law when making his submission, adding that a no-case submission in the high court is a common law principle which comes under section 7 of the Constitution of the Gambia. He said calling on the accused to enter defence mandatorily is inconsistent with presumption of innocence and the right to remain silent and that it finally amounts to asking the accused to prove his innocence. On the prosecution’s argument that a ‘no-case to answer’ submission cannot be made in economic crime charge, Counsel Camara cited the cases of Mambury Njie, Maimuna Taal, Pa Sallah Jeng, among others, who, he said, were all acquitted and discharged through a no-case submission on economic crime in the high court. The case was adjourned to April 22nd for ruling.]]>
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