By Rohey Jadama
The prosecution, yesterday 27 June, 2016 closed its case in the case of the Leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP) Ousainou Darboe and 19 other party stalwarts standing trial at the high court in Banjul.
When the case was called before Justice Eunice O. Dada of the Banjul High Court, Hadi Saleh Barkun, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and a team of lawyers announced their representation for the state, while the accused persons were not represented.
“My lady I’m making an application to recall PW4 Domingo Memba to tender the Point Newspaper publication which came to their attention during their investigation which is relevant to this case pursuant to section 123 of the Criminal Procedure Code(CPC ) and the inherent powers of this honorable court”, said the DPP.
Justice Dada said pursuant to section 123 of the CPC, the application to recall PW4 is granted.
“We were not asked whether we have any objection, this shows that this court is eager to convict us”, said Lawyer Darboe.
However, Domingo Memba (PW4) continued to testify by telling the court that as the head of the panel they were able to lay their hands on the Point Newspaper published on the 18th April, 2016.
When asked by the DPP whether he will recognise the said newspaper if shown to him, the witness responded in the positive adding that the newspaper was numbered as 082 and the picture of Darboe is also on it. A copy was shown to him and he recognized it and the DPP applied to tender it as an exhibit.
However, when the accused persons were asked whether they have any objection to the tendering of the newspaper.
Mr Ousainou Darboe said, “My right to object has been denied so what is the essence of objecting or not objecting to this paper?”
The court clerk was ordered by the judge to call the other accused persons one by one and ask them whether they have any objection to the tendering of the newspaper, however, they all remained silent.
Justice Dada said the response of the 1st accused is noted and that for the rest of the accused persons who chose to be silent, she would record that they have no objection. She also held that pursuant to section 3 of the Evidence Act, the newspaper with number 082 is admitted and marked as Exhibit 23.
When they were again asked whether they have any question for the witness, Lawyer Darboe told the court that he has stated his position as far as the trial is concerned. When the other accused persons were asked they were mute.
At this juncture, the DPP announced the closure of the prosecution’s case. Justice Dada said the prosecution has closed its case and the accused persons are at liberty to open their defence.
This prompted Ousainou Darboe to say what he had expected from the court, but before he could finish talking the judge interjected and told Darboe that if he wants to make an application let him make it. However, Mr Darboe responded that their rights are been disregarded by the court.
Subsequently, Justice Dada adjourned the case till Monday 4 July, 2016 for the case of the defence.