By Mamadou Dem
Principal Magistrate Isatou Janneh- Njie of the lower court in Banjul, yesterday 20th of February struck out the criminal trial involving Tina Faal, former nominated National Assembly Member under Jammeh regime and consequently set her free.
Prior to striking out the case and subsequent releasing the accused, her attorney Combeh Gaye applied for the matter to be struck out. She said “I understand that a hearing notice was served on the prosecution informing them of a hearing date of this matter.”
It’s obvious that they are not here. They were not also here on the last adjourned date. Under that circumstance, I am humbly applying for the charges against the accused to be struck out and the accused person to be discharged. The accused person is here today and was here on the last adjourned date.
Barrister Gaye further submitted that if the trial Magistrate perused the file, she would realise that the matter had not been proceeding since around 26th of October, 2016. “Therefore, the prosecution has lost interest in the matter,” she opined. “I urged the court to grant my application.”
Delivering the ruling, the trial Magistrate upheld the application and noted that there was proof showing that notice of service was effected by the court. She accordingly struck out the case and discharged the accused person. However, the trial Magistrate ruled that the prosecution is at liberty to go back to court anytime they wish.
The former NAM Member was arraigned sometime in August last year charged with three counts of criminal offence ranging from Conspiracy, Obtaining goods by false pretence and theft contrary to the laws of the Gambia. She denied any wrong doing and was granted bail in the sum of D500, 000 (five hundred thousand dalasis) with two Gambian sureties in the like sum and was ordered to deposit title deed within the Greater Banjul Area to the registry of the court and that the accused person to surrender her travel documents to the registrar of the court.
During the course of the trial, prosecution called three witnesses, namely Ebou Badjie of the Gambia Police Force, Barrister Omar Njie and Alieu Ceesay a judicial staff attached under the Sheriff Division of the high court.