By Rohey Jadama
The criminal trial at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court involving Mrs.
Veronic Carayol, the Deputy Commissioner of Enforcement at the Gambia
Revenue Authority (GRA), did not proceed with the adoption of the
briefs due to the late serving of the defence counsel by the
prosecution.When the case was called yesterday, Tuesday, 16 December, before
Magistrate Fatou Darboe, Lawyer Hawa Sisay Sabally, the counsel for the
accused, told the Court that she was served with the reply of the
prosecution to the defence’s ‘no case to answer’ on the very day. In
response, the prosecutor, ASP Musa Camara, said he could not have met
the deadline due to his ill health.
The trial magistrate, at this juncture, adjourned the case to
Thursday, 18th December, 2014 for adoption of briefs.
In the written reply on the no case to answer submission by the
defence, the prosecution indicated that the accused was arraigned on a
four count charge namely, Abuse of Office, False Information, Unlawful
Publication and Corrupt Practices. It indicated that the accused
pleaded not guilty to all charges except count three which is sent to
the Supreme Court and that in the process, the prosecution called six
witnesses in support of their case.
The prosecution stated that the applicable sections of the criminal
procedure code in this regard are sections 166 and 167; that while
Section 166 clearly states that at the close of the prosecution’s
case, if a case has not been made out sufficiently to require the
accused person to make a defense, the court shall acquit him or her;
that Section 167 on the other hand states that if a case has been made
out sufficiently to require the accused person to make a defense, he
or she shall be called upon to defend himself or herself.
He argued that the law has set out few guiding principles which the
courts need to observe with regards to a no- case submission; that it
must be recognized that at this stage of a no-case submission, the
trial is not concluded. “At this stage therefore, the court should not
concern itself with the credibility of witnesses to their evidence.
The court should again at this stage make no observation on the facts.
In a nutshell, at the stage of a no-case submission, the court should
not ‘weigh the evidence adduced by the prosecution and should also not
consider the discrepancies in the testimonies of the witnesses for the
prosecution,” stated the prosecutor.
The prosecution further argued that what has to be considered at the
stage of a no case submission is not whether the evidence against the
accused is sufficient to justify conviction, but whether the
prosecution has made out a prima facie case requiring at least some
explanation from the accused person.
“When a submission of no prima facie is made on behalf of an accused
person, the trial court is not thereby called upon at that stage to
express any opinion on the evidence before it. The court is only
called upon to take note and to rule accordingly that there is before
the court no legally admissible evidence linking the accused person
with the commission of offence with,” it argued.
The prosecution stated that it is their submission once again that
once the prosecution has established the minimum required proof then
such explanation is expected to be heard from the defendant, as such
she is required to be called to enter her defense.
“In this regard it is our submission that there is nothing on the face
of it to show that the evidences presented by the prosecution are so
discredited as to render their evidential value worthless. Therefore,
since there are legally admissible evidence devoid of hearsay as it is
the case at hand, we urge this honorable court to call upon the
accused person to enter her defense. We therefore pray that the
submission of the counsel to the accused be discountenanced and
refused,” concluded the written submission of the prosecution.