MAGISTRATE M.B. CAMARA ORDERS ACCUSED PERSONS TO OPEN THEIR DEFENCE

Abdoulie G. Dibba

Magistrate Mustapha B. Camara on Thursday 21st of August 2014 ruled that Farba Jallow, Sara Jallow and Kumba Loum, who are standing trial on a charge of “Giving False Information to a Public Servant”, have a case to answer.

Magistrate Camara’s ruling followed a no case to answer submission by counsel Lamin K. Mboge who asked the court to acquit and discharge his clients.

In delivering his ruling, Magistrate Mustapha B. Camara stated that from the evidence presented in court by the prosecution, the court is convinced that the accused persons have a case to answer and therefore should open their defence to rebut the allegation against them.

At this stage, Lamin K. Mboge told the court that he is applying for the record of proceedings and a copy of the ruling from the court for the purpose of filing an appeal against the ruling of the Court.

Lawyer Mboge told the court that if the ruling goes in favour of the applicant, then there is no need to come back to the same court and if the ruling is in favour of the prosecution, then the case will come back to the court for continuation of the hearing into the matter.

At this stage, the Prosecutor Sub-inspector Colley informed the court that there is no appeal filed at the High court for a stay of proceedings and there is no order from the High court for a stay of proceedings at the lower court.

“I therefore urge your worship to over-rule the application and for the accused persons to open their defence,” stated Prosecutor Colley.

In replying to the Prosecution, Lamin K. Mboge told the court that fair hearing is a constitutional right and it is impossible for the court to rule the same day and the defence to file an appeal the same day.

He pointed out that if they were in Banjul, it would have been possible.

“I would therefore apply for a stay of proceedings until the determination of the appeal and the reason for the application is to save the time, energy and resources of this court for being wasted in the event that the appeal is successful,” stated Lawyer Mboge.

He concluded by urging the court to grant the application in the interest of justice and fair trial.

Defence counsel L.K.Mboge asserted that Section 24 (3) paragraph 3 of the 1997 constitution requires the accused persons to be given adequate time to prepare for their defence.

“I urge this honourable court to consider granting stay of proceeding or grant the accused persons adjournment to enable them to file their appeal and application for stay of proceedings at the High court and all the documents to be served,” appealed Lawyer Mboge.

The Prosecutor said he has no objection to the application for adjournment and therefore the case was adjourned to the 2nd of September 2014 for ruling on the stay of proceedings.