In State House Attackers Appeal Case Appellants Given Time to File...

In State House Attackers Appeal Case Appellants Given Time to File Additional Grounds of Appeal

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A panel of 3 Judges of The Gambia Court of Appeal, presided Justice O.A Adogoke GCA president, Justice Sallah-Wadda and Justice Edrissa Fafa M’bai, has granted the application of the appellant counsel to file additional grounds of appeal in the criminal appeal case of Lieutenant Colonel Sarjo Jarju and five others.

Lieutenant Colonel Sarjo Jarju, Captain Abdoulie Jobe, Captain Buba K. Bojang, Captain Amadou Sowe, Lieutenant Buba Sanneh and Private  Modou Njie were convicted and sentenced by the General Court-martial to various jail terms for their role in the 30th December attack on the State House.

At the commencement of yesterday`s proceeding, Lawyer Lamin S. Camara, for the 4th appellant informed the court that the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) S H Barkun had served him with copy of the substantial and supplementary records in the morning.

He said the record is 700 pages document but he read only the judgment and not the records and therefore would request for time for him to file additional grounds of appeal. DPP Barkun objected to the application, arguing that as rightly stated at the last sitting a lot of time has been wasted in the name of the records of the proceeding and that it is very clear that it is the appellants who should bear the burden of compiling the records and serve the respondent.

DPP added that they (the respondents) have gone to the extra mile in assisting with the compilation of the record to ensure that the case continues and that the proper application to make is the filing of briefs.

He further argued that granting an adjournment for counsel to come up with more grounds of appeal is untenable, noting that sometime in June 2016, the court granted their application to amend the notice of appeal regardless of the fact that the prosecution had objected to it. “Any further adjournment in this case will only cause unnecessary delay to the case. In view of that I’m objecting to the application and I urge the court to refuse it,”DPP submitted.

Lawyer Camara however enjoined the court to take judicial notice of the fact that the matter emanated from the Court Martial, whose records are not ordinarily and readily available. He added that the DPP’s submission that the appellants bear the burden to prepare the records is not correct.

He also submitted that the appellants have no obligation to prepare the records in criminal trial and that it is the obligation of the respondent to prepare the records that is why it is not paid for because the appellants are in custody.

He said that DPP misinterpreted the difference between notice of appeal and application to file additional grounds of appeal, submitting that the application is justifiable having regard to the circumstances of the case and the gravity of the punishment.

In the court’s ruling, Justice Adogoke said it is in the interest of justice that the application is granted. She maintained that the appellant counsel received the substantial and supplementary records in the morning and that it is fair for him to peruse it and overruled the objection.

The case was unanimously adjourned by the panel of judges to Thursday 17th November 2016 for mention and ordering of briefs.

By Fatou Sowe