By Yankuba Jallow

The trial of eight NIA staff at the Banjul High Court suffered setback yesterday 23rd April 2018.

It suffered another setback when state counsel applied for adjournment which was granted.

When the case was called before Justice Sainabou Wadda-Cisse, the eight accused persons were present whilst State Counsels who are to take up the matter, were nowhere to be seen. Thereafter, a Lawyer identified himself as a State Counsel and  quickly told the Court that he was not responsible for the case; that he was requesting for an adjournment to enable the State Counsel who is responsible for the case to appear in court. The case was then adjourned to May 3rd 2018, at 9:30 am.

This is the second time this case has suffered a setback. 19th of April 2018 was another date that was set for the case to be mentioned but was hindered by the State and the case was not able to proceed. The case was only mentioned and adjourned afterwards.

The accused persons were on Wednesday 21st March 2018, arraigned before Magistrate Tracy Davies Wilson of the Banjul Magistrate Court. The case was transferred to the High Court because Magistrate Davies Wilson’s Court lacks jurisdiction to hear such matters.

The accused persons are Quasy Mendy, Leon Gomez, Lamin Bojang, Malafi Jarjue, Bakary Jammeh, Ansumana Manga, Mamudou Badjie and Yankuba Colley.
According to the particulars of offence at the Lower Court, the aforesaid persons on or about April 15th 2016, at Banjul and diverse places in the Republic of The Gambia, agreed among themselves to cause the death of Ebrima Solo Sandeng and thereby committed an offence, on Count One.
On Count Two, the prosecutors alleged that all the accused persons except Ansumana Manga, on or about April 15th 2016 in Banjul and diverse places of the Republic of The Gambia, having known that Yankuba Badjie, Louie Richard Leese Gomez, Saihou Omar Jeng (alias Sir Jeng), Babucarr Sallah, Yusupha Jammeh, Haruna Susso, Tamba Mansary and Lamin Darboe, unlawfully caused the death of Ebrima Solo Sandeng, by assisting the former top brass of the agency currently on trial at the High Court, to dispose of the body of the late Sandeng, with intent to impede the apprehension or prosecution of Yankuba Badjie, Louie Richard Leese Gomez, Saihou Omar Jeng (alias Sir Jeng), Babucarr Sallah, Yusupha Jammeh, Haruna Susso, Tamba Mansary and Lamin Darboe, and thereby committed an offence.
However, the accused persons could not take their plea, as the Lower Court lacked the jurisdiction to try the case and were subsequently remanded.

Family members expressed concern over the issue that the Lower Court ordered for the accused persons to be remanded but were quick to add that they are not in the Remand Wing, but held at the Gambia Police Headquarters in Banjul; that after the accused persons were ordered to be remanded, they spent only three hours in the remand wing. They called on Government to respect the dictates of the Constitution on the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, to speed up the matter in Court.

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