High Court Rejects State Objection to admit UDP Militant’s Appeal

 By Kebba Jeffang

The High Court in Banjul on Thursday, 22nd January, 2015 overruled the objectionLasana Jobarteh made by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) that would have prevented the admission of the appeal of the UDP stalwart Lasana Jobarteh’s against conviction by the magistrates’ court last year.

When the case was called, DPP Hadi Barkhum appeared for the state (the respondent) whilst Lawyer Ousainou Darboe represented the appellant.

The trial judge in his ruling recalled that the appellant filed a petition of appeal on the 9th October 2014 with an eight paragraph affidavit in support while the respondent has filed a four paragraph affidavit in opposition. He added that the motion was moved on the 16th October 2014.

He added that counsel for the appellant Darboe urged the court to allow the petition of appeal without the copy of judgment being attached to it as at the time of filing the petition of appeal the judgment was not ready.

However, he noted that the DPP challenged the competence of the appeal saying the appellant did not give any reason why he did not have the judgment attached, and did not show any efforts he made to get the judgment.

He added that the DPP also pointed out that since sufficient reasons were not given as to why they did not attach the judgment it is not a competent appeal and urged the court to dismiss the application.

The trial judge said it is not in dispute that the appellant was convicted and sentence to D50,000 by the Bundung Magistrates’ Court.

He said, “the appellant was convicted on the 10th of July 2014 and the appeal was filed on the 6th August 2014 which shows that the appeal was filed within time. I have thoroughly reviewed both counsels’ submission and that both are relying on section 275 of the Criminal Procedure Code,” said the Judge.

The trial judge ruled that filing the appeal without the copy of judgment is irregular but does not render the appeal incompetent.

He therefore dismissed the grounds of objection made by the DPP.

On the discretion of the court to allow the appeal without being accompanied by the copy of judgment, the judge said one of the reasons the court must consider is why the appellant is seeking for leave unaccompanied by a copy of the judgment.

“Judgment is not for fancy but for the use of the court and it does not render the petition of appeal incompetent. What is of vital importance is for the petition of appeal to be filed within time,” said the judge.

He ruled that “by virtue of the CPC, leave is hereby given to the petitioner to file the petition of appeal. The petition of appeal filed on the 6th August is hereby deemed properly filed and competent. The petitioner is given 21 days to file a copy of judgment together with the exhibits and charges served to the DPP and filed in court.”