A Principal Magistrate at the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court has strictly asked lawyers to do away with personal sentiments in the cases of their clients, calling on them to strictly follow the rule of law.
Magistrate Hilary Abeke made the remark while presiding over a civil suit between one Francis P Mendy and Alhagie Conteh yesterday. Defended by two lawyers, the case is practically heard on a daily basis and would take 2 hours or more of the court’s time.
One of the senior lawyers in the case applied for an adjournment but was objected to by the other party. The adjournment application later ignited a debate and took the court more than 45 minutes before it could deliver a ruling on the application.
“Lawyers should strictly follow the law and put away personal sentiments from their cases. No lawyer has personal cases here. You are all defending litigants. Some of your clients would sometimes report to the authorities that their cases are not moving,” Abeke said.
In the presence of about six lawyers, Magistrate Abeke stressed the need for fair trial within reasonable times which, he said is enshrined in The Gambia’s Constitution. He urged lawyers to ensure diligent delivery of their cases and not to delay them. “The fact that this case is heard on a daily basis, we are still not moving. There are other cases that are registered after this one but are moving fast. Why is this case so peculiar”? Abeke questioned counsels.
He then told lawyers that henceforth, his court would only grant adjournment applications if concrete reasons are placed before the court.
by Meita Touray