By Rohey Jadama
The Gambia Court of Appeal, on Tuesday 26 April, 2016 paved the way for the appeal of six convicted soldiers to proceed. The court overruled the preliminary objection filed by the state against the appeal of the six convicts and further gave 7 days to the parties to file their briefs.
The appeal case of the six soldiers that were convicted and sentenced by a court martial for their alleged involvement in the 30 December 2014 attack on state house was presided over by a panel of 3 Judges and headed by Justice Edrissa Fafa Mbai.
When the case was called, Saleh Hadi Barkun, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), announced his appearance for the state with a team of state lawyers while barristers Borry S. Touray and Ngozi from Legal Aid announced their representation of the appellants.
Justice Mbai overruled the preliminary objection filed by the DPP, adding that it is incompetent and not in consonance with law and is therefore struck out.
He further gave 7 days to both parties to file their briefs.
The three judges unanimously adjourned the matter till 2 June for adoption of briefs.
It could be recalled that a handful of assailants mounted an early morning assault on state house in Banjul on December 30, 2014. Private Modou Njie and five other military officers were charged with treason, conspiracy and mutiny and put before a court martial that was not open to the media. The court martial panel included military officers assisted by Justice Amadi as the judge advocate.
Private Njie along with Lieutenant-Colonel Sarjo Jarju and Lieutenant Buba Sanneh were also charged with assisting the enemy and sentenced to death when the verdict was handed down.
Those that were sentenced to life in prison included Captain Buba K. Bojang, Lieutenant Amadou Sowe and Captain Abdoulie Jobe.
Dissatisfied with the verdict of the military court martial, the six military officers are now exercising their right of appeal to the appellate court.