Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Defence Argues Court Cannot Try Yankuba Touray

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By Nelson Manneh & Louise Jobe

Lawyer Abdoulie Sisoho,  counsel for Yankuba Touray, has put forward arguments that the High Court has no jurisdiction to hear the case his client.

Touray appeared yesterday for the second time in a space of two days. His initial arraignment on Monday, 1st July 2019 was done in the absence of the media who were denied entry access by the police. The charge or charges put against Mr. Touray is not known by the press and it is yet to be read to him to take his plea.

Mr. Touray’s arrest came about when he refused to answer questions put to him by the TRRC as he invoked what he called his constitutional immunity. There and then, the TRRC’s chairperson, Dr. Lamin Sise instructed the police to arrest him and recommended to the Attorney-General for his prosecution for being contemptuous to the Commission.

The suspect, Mr. Touray was part of the five-man military council that ruled The Gambia from 1994 to 1996 after overthrowing the government of the First Republic.

He was on Monday arraigned before Justice Ebrima Jaiteh, while yesterday he was arraigned before Justice Sainabou Wadda-Cisse.

Last month, Touray together with an ex-Speaker of the National Assembly, Fatoumata Jahumpa Ceesay were charged with interference with an informant (witness) of the TRRC and conspiracy to commit a felony but both of them denied guilt. The State withdrew the charges and both were discharged. After the charges were withdrawn at the Magistrates Court, the State rearrested them and charged them on the same counts before the High Court. After some time, the State withdrew the charges.

The Former AFPRC Junta member on Tuesday morning was brought before the high court again.

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubacarr Tambadou who appeared for the State urged the court to put itself in the position of the TRRC; that an Act of contempt has been committed in its fact.

The Justice Minister further urged the court to accept the findings of the TRRC which has already made an affidavit signed by the Chairperson of the Commission, Dr. Lamin J Sise.

Apart from the issue of jurisdiction, Lawyer Abdoulie Sisoho, the attorney for Mr. Touray, also queried the appearance of the Attorney General in the matter.

Barrister Sisoho brought it to the notice of the court that the defence was not served by the process server regarding the matter. Justice Sainabou Wadda-Cisse after paying attention to both parties’ submissions, gave three days to both parties to file written addresses.

The matter was then adjourned till the 23rd of July 2019 for ruling.

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