By Kebba Jeffang
The defence team representing the 19 members of the United Democratic Party (UDP), including party leader and Secretary General Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, was ordered by the high court in Banjul on Monday, April 25, 2016 to formally apply for bail for their clients by filing a written brief in 24 hours.
At the start of the trial, in a crowded court room filled with family, friends, symphatisers, the state was represented by Hadi Saleh Barkun, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and his team of state counsels, while lawyer Antouman Gaye, senior lawyer, headed the defence team for the 19 accused persons.
In addressing the court, Mr. Gaye applied for the previous application to be struck out and further informed the court that they have now filed a fresh application under the indictment. He added that the defence has served the state through the DPP on the 21 April, 2016 with all the 19 applications.
In his reaction, the DPP said he has no objection to the application made by the defence.
Consequently, court granted the application for striking out the document that was filed on the 19 April 2016 and allowed for a fresh application to be made.
Lawyer Gaye noted that “base on the urgency of the matter, we prefer to have an oral application. Our laws recommend that this jurisdiction doesn’t support a written brief. This has been the case in this country for the past 20 years. I want to inform the court that the laws of the Gambia do not allow a written application for bail.”
He argued that a written brief for bail application is not in accordance with the Gambia Court of Appeal recommendation.
At this stage, the DPP served the defence team with the affidavits.
Mr. Gaye applied for a stand down to enable them to go over the content of the affidavits and which was granted.
Upon resumption, Lawyer Amie N. Bensouda said they have gone through the content and that they are now ready to proceed with the bail application orally due to the urgency of the application.
However, court overruled the oral application, stating that the application will be submitted formally by filing a written brief so that time will not be wasted.
In this regard, the court has ordered the defence to file the brief in 24 hours in which the prosecution will reply within another 24 hours.
The matter was therefore adjourned to Thursday, 28th April for defence to reply on points of law at 12 noon.
However, the hearing of the case will begin on Wednesday, 27th April at 1pm.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Bensouda informed the court that the order that was given in the last adjourned date on the accessibility of their clients has not been considered by the prison authorities as they (lawyers) are continuously denied access to them.
Consequently, the trial judge ordered Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Almameh Manga to facilitate the accessibility of the lawyers to their clients at Mile 2 central prisons.