The Chief Justice of The Gambia has reaffirmed his commitment to what he described as a vibrant legal system for the country in line with the spirit and objectives of the leadership of President Jammeh.
Emmanuel Fagbenle, who was speaking in a Daily Observer interview last week, also thanked the President for giving the judiciary a free hand and fatherly support.
“We thank him [the President] for giving us ten brand new executive cars for the new judges and a brand new complex for their accommodation and also for giving us staff bus meant to reduce the problem of staff mass transit or movement. Following the promise made by President Jammeh to bring justice to the doorstep of every Gambian, he has given us additional personnel through the appointment of nine judges for the High Court and three judges for The Gambia Court of Appeal and he also gave us approval for new justices of the Supreme Court,” the CJ said.
“We have [also] appointed Cadis in all regions and appointed Scribes in District Tribunals to assist in the day to day recording of proceedings and preparation of records of proceedings for those wishing to appeal from district tribunals.”
He added that the Judiciary at the moment has appointed judicial officers to work in all regions of the country meant to prevent people from travelling up country to conduct their cases within the Greater Banjul Area.
“We sent many of our personnel for training in both the Faculty of Law, and The Gambia Law School with a view to enhance their performance and justice delivery for the legal system. Through the assistance of the Mayor of KM [Kanifing Municipality], we have been given a court hall facility in Buffer Zone area to help decongest the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court. This facility will host the Kanifing High Court, Children’s Court and Industrial Tribunal and the facility is currently under renovation. We are working on procurement of a Paternity Machine Test for the Children’s Court cases, because we have been going to Dakar for such test and it normally causes delays in trials of such cases,” he added.
The Chief Justice also disclosed that the WCR has also them a plot of land to build a court hall and residence for a narcotic court in Sibanor, Foni. He further highlighted what he called marshal plan of action to modernise the courts by ensuring that all courts are automated to reduce the time consumed by judges in recording of witness evidence and plans to acquire computers for all judges, magistrates and secretaries, to enhance timely availability of records of proceedings for those who may need it for appeal as well as to fast track the whole process.
He also spoke on the plan to produce a Gambia Law Journal that would educate the public at both local and international level on the various legal issues.
The CJ added that the country would from henceforth host an annual Judicial Conference with the maiden edition slated for July 28, 2016.
The conference, he added, has the objectives of bringing together judicial officers under one roof to brainstorm, educate and share information on challenges and find solutions to them.
by Sanna Jawara