Judge issues ultimatum to state prosecution
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Justice Emmanuel Amadi of the High Court in Banjul yesterday, 18th of August 2010, warned that if on the 23rd of August 2010, the state is unable to open the prosecution case against one Musa Joof, the court would have no option but to discharge and acquit the said Musa Joof.
The accused is charged with two counts of libel and giving false information to a public servant in 2007, contrary to the laws of The Gambia. When the case came up yesterday, it was stood down for more than an hour to enable the DDPP, Mikailu Abdulahi, to appear in court so as to explain why the case had suffered a set back for the past three years. When DDPP Mikailu Abdulahi finally appeared before the presiding judge, he informed the court that he was not conversant with the status of the case, noting that the DPP Richard Chenge was personally handling the case and it was rather unfortunate that the DPP was out of the jurisdiction.
Justice Amadi then read some information concerning the case to the DDPP Mikailu Abdulahi and informed him that the defence counsel, Sheriff M. Tambedou, had applied for his client to be discharged on the last adjourned date. The judge disclosed that a notice of hearing was sent to the Attorney General's Chambers and one Awa Dibba acknowledged the receipt of the said hearing notice. "How can a case file be at the AG Chambers for 3 years without prosecution," Justice Amadi queried and said if the court vacates its order it will make a mockery of the justice delivery system.
At that point, DDPP Mikailu Abdulahi told the court that he needed some time to study the case file and respond to whatever submissions the defence must have made or the state would advise itself on any necessary steps they would take. The DDPP therefore urged the court to vacate the last order made. The presiding judge, Justice Amadi however stressed that if the state cannot open the prosecution’s case on Monday, August 23rd 2010, the court would have no option but to discharge the accused to make written petition to the Office of The President claiming that the then Sheriff of the High Court had prevented him from reaping the fruit of his labour, by failing to give him proceeds from a court judgment he won in 2007.
Author: by Sidiq Asemota