By Mamadou Dem
State counsels led by Antouman Gaye, yesterday urged Justice Kumba Sillah- Camara of the High Court in Banjul to refuse the application made by lawyer Mene on behalf of Yankuba Badjie.
The attorney for Yankuba Badjie, the former Director General of the defunct National Intelligence Agency, NIA, now called the State Intelligence Service, SIS, is opposing the appointment of Barrister Gaye as Prosecutor General.
When the case resumed yesterday and after adopting his briefs in the nine former NIA officers’ murder trial, Mene vehemently objected to the “rejoinder” filed by the respondent (State).
According to counsel Mene, the rejoinder is centered on the issue of powers of the Attorney General to appoint Public Prosecutors for the case. “This issue was raised for the first time by the respondent in their respondent’s brief of arguments. This is a new point of law that was raised by the respondent. Therefore the applicant (defence), is entitled to reply in their point of law, to respond to the argument of the respondent,” he submitted.
Lawyer Mene further submitted that the issue raised by the state in the rejoinder is irrelevant to the application before the court and therefore they do not concede to the argument of the respondent; that indeed the AG has such powers and the state wasn’t entitled to a rejoinder on issues that were raised in their briefs.
The defence alleged that the respondent was simply trying to re-argue on their respondent’s briefs which he said shouldn’t be allowed by the court. Reacting to the applicant’s objection, Combeh Gaye who was allowed to make the reply by his seniors, Antouman Gaye and Lamin S Camara respectively, submitted that the objection of a rejoinder by the applicant is misconceived; that the rejoinder filed by the state was proper.
“Having regard to the fact that my learned friend in his arguments failed to outline the constitutional interpretation of Section 85 of the 1997 Constitution and Section 65 Sub Section (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC)……” said counsel Gaye.
Barrister Gaye submitted that the defences’ submission that Section 65 (1) of the CPC is void by virtue of section 4 of the 1997 Constitution, was a new issue from the defence and they (respondent) have the right to reply by way of a rejoinder. She added that the High Court doesn’t have the jurisdiction to determine constitutionality.
At this juncture Mene interjected and opposed the mode of reply by the state’ arguing that the state was going outside the parameters of his application. But the respondent was allowed to continue.
“We submit that our rejoinder is proper in law and urge the court to overrule the objection and allow us to adopt our briefs,” Mrs. Corker Submitted.
Both parties adopted their briefs during which, the State urged the court to dismiss the first accused, Yankuba Badjie’s summons and substantive order respectively while the applicant, Mene, urged the court to grant the application in the interest of justice.
Consequently, the matter was adjourned to 17 August for ruling on the summons filed by the defence on behalf of Yankuba Badjie, asking the court to bar Antouman Gaye from prosecuting the NIA 9.
The nine former NIA officers are Yankuba Badjie, Louis Richards Gomez, Saihou Omar Jeng, Babucarr Sallah, Yusupha Jammeh, Haruna Susso, Tamba Mansary, Lamin Darboe and Lamin Lang Sanyang.
They are standing trial on numerous offences ranging from conspiracy to commit felony, assault causing serious bodily harm, murder, making false documents amongst others. However they all denied any wrong doing and were remanded in custody and subsequently one of the accused Lamin Lang Sanyang, was released on bail.