By Rohey Jadama
Lawyer Pa Harry Jammeh has urged Magistrate Hilary Abeke of Kanifing Magistrates’ Court not to transfer the criminal case involving one Baboucarr Badjie to the High Court.
At the last proceeding, the prosecutor Kebba Fadera has informed the court that he has received death threats from callers who claimed to be Gambians in the diaspora. This has prompted the presiding magistrate to say that he will transfer the case to the high court.
The Prosecution alleged that Mr. Badjie, between January and December 2015, at the Associated Pre-mix Oil Company Ltd on Kairaba Avenue, in the Kanifing Municipality, by virtue of his position as finance officer of the said company, stole D33 million, being monies of the said company that he diverted to his personal gain. The accused denied any wrong doing.
Prosecutor ASP Kebba Fadera appeared for the Inspector General of Police(IGP), while lawyer Pa Harry Jammeh announced his representation for the accused person.
When the case came up yesterday, the defence lawyer Pa Harry Jammeh said his absence from court last week Thursday 23rd March was not in any way deliberate. He stated that he was at the court but the time slated for the continuation of hearing was 10am and that he was at the court well before that time.
“As lawyers or private legal practitioners, we are dictated or guided by our diaries. I left for matters in another court. My learned colleague Ebrima Jaiteh held brief for me and made some arguments on my behalf”, said Lawyer Jammeh.
He said he is very much familiar with the working of the ministry of justice. He continued “This case has suffered series of setbacks therefore transferring the case to ministry of justice will cause further delay. I beg the court to continue hearing the case”, said the defence counsel.
Barrister Jammeh further told the court that he has addressed the prosecutor’s complain or issues raised by the prosecution and also personal concerns. He said he wants to withdraw from the case but the family has now promised that they will take all steps necessary to ensure the threats do not occur.
“I therefore beg your worship to give us one more opportunity if this threat continues, your worship, even before listening to me can transfer the case to the high court and I personally will withdraw from the case”, he said.
Magistrate Abeke said a prosecutor only presents what he is given. “Can a messenger be killed for passing a message”, he questioned.
The presiding Magistrate said his court has the duty to protect any officer of the court. He ordered for the family to produce an affidavit to the court to that effect.
The magistrate said the accused person was granted bail but could not fulfil the conditions of bail.
The defence lawyer responded that they will file an affidavit today.
The case continues today 28 March, 2017 at 10 am for continuation of the submission of the defence lawyer.