NIA NINE: Prosecution asks for adjournment

By Rohey Jadama

The prosecution’s request for adjournment of the trial of nine former senior NIA officers was granted by the high court on Tuesday. The prosecution told the court that the Attorney General is to reconstitute their team and that would require time.

The other accused persons are Louis Gomez, former Deputy Director, Saikou Omar Jeng, former director of Operations, Haruna Susso, Yusupha Jammeh, Tamba Masireh, Lamin Darboe, Baboucarr Sallah and Lamin Lang Sanyang. Their trial relates to the death in custody of Ebrima Solo Sandeng.

They are charged with twelve counts of criminal offences ranging from conspiracy to murder, Murder, Assaults causing actual bodily harm, Conspiracy to commit misdemeanor, Forgery and Making documents without Authority contrary to the laws of The Gambia.

However, they all denied culpability of the charges levied against them.

DDPP Abubacarr  informed the court that the Attorney General is re-organizing the conduct of this case and that involves other counsels joining or taking over the conduct of the case, which according, to him will require time. He applied for the court to grant him two weeks adjournment to enable them study the case file for the diligent conduct of the case.

There was no objection from Lawyer Mene. However, Lawyer Richard, defence counsel for the 3rd accused, said he had no objection to the application but, added that if the office of Attorney General needed time to re-organize and  study the case, then the accused persons should be granted bail.

However, the presiding judge replied that the charges to which the accused persons are standing is not bailable.

For his part Lawyer Edward Gomez, defence Attorney for the 2nd accused person, also said he had no objection to the application. He however, added that the case is a high profile case which ‘captures’ the people within and outside the Gambia and that being the case they must uphold rule of law and democracy that we cherished.

“Section 24 of the   1997 deals with the fundamental rights and freedoms which is sacrosanct, inalienable and non-negotiable”, submitted Lawyer Gomez.  He further added that the   long adjournments will violate the rights of the accused persons as per section 24 of the 1997 constitution.

When asked by the trial judge how much time he needed, Prosecutor Abubacarr, responded that he needed two weeks adjournments because the supreme court is sitting next week.

Consequently, Justice Sillah-Camara granted the application of the prosecution. She added that on 15 and 22 of May at 12noon the case will be mentioned. The case was adjourned till the following dates 15 and 22 of May, 2017.