NIA 9: Absence Of Defence Counsels Hinders Trial

By Yankuba Jallow

The absence of Lawyers Emmuel E. Chime and CE Mene for the first accused person, has hindered yesterday’s trial of the former intelligence chiefs of the National Intelligent Agency (NIA).

On the last adjourned date, the court adjourned the matter for the two defence lawyers to be served notice of appearance but they failed to come during yesterday’s (November 14th 2017) proceeding.

When the case was called before Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara of the Special Criminal Division of the Banjul High Court, it was indicated that the case is at the stage of cross examination of PW3, but that the defence lawyers Chime and Mene, were nowhere to be seen in court. This prompted the Judge to ask the first accused person Yankuba Badjie, the reasons for the absence of his lawyers but Badjie was quick to say that he does not know.

The court told him that his counsels cannot hold the court to ransom by being absent without advancing any reasons.

State prosecutor, lawyer Antouman AB Gaye told the court that Counsels Mene and Chime were in other courts appearing in other cases; that the two lawyers cannot hold the court to ransom.

Senior lawyer Gaye further applied for the first accused person, Yankuba Badjie, to be served with the documents which were served to his Attorneys (Chime and Mene) and also urged the court to invoke its powers in this circumstance as lawyers are officers of the court.

The court in its ruling held that the absence of lawyers will not impede the case because they chose to abandon their clients.

She made an order for all the documents that are to be served to the absentees to be served to Yankuba Badjie, the first accused person in court and such shall hold sufficient service.