By Lamin Sanyang
Justice Mikhail Abdullah of the Criminal Division of the High Court yesterday Thursday 3rd July acquitted and discharged Mr. Mambury Njie, former Minister of Finance. Mr Njie was facing charges of economic crime and neglect of official duty at the Banjul High Court.
“I uphold the submission of no-case to answer. The accused is accordingly acquitted and discharged,” said Justice Mikhail Abdullah.
The trial judge in acquitting the accused person noted that the law on ‘no-case submission’ is when there has been no evidence to prove the essential elements of the offence in the charge, when the evidence adduced by the prosecution has been so discredited as a result of cross examination or is so manifestly unreliable that no reasonable court could convict on it.
“For the offence on count one to be complete, it is important that the act of the accused must result in monetary loss to the government and evidence of it must be presented before the court, evidence of monetary loss caused to the government is lacking in this case,” he pointed out.
Justice Abdullah said in a submission of no-case to answer, an accused is entitled to an acquittal when there has been no evidence to prove an essential element of an offence. He said a prima facie case exists when there is evidence sufficient enough to support the allegation made in the absence of further evidence rebutting the same. He added that the law is trite that where there is an iota of doubt in criminal proceedings as in the instant case, it should be resolved in favour of the accused person.
“This court cannot embark on a speculative voyage to fish or create evidence in the prosecution’s case, nor should it indulge in guess work in order to fill the gap left in the prosecution’s case,” he posited.
The trial judge maintained that equally the accused person should not be made to enter a witness box where he would be compelled to make damaging admission under cross examination. He noted that the significant feature of the no-case submission is to enable the defendant to defeat the prosecution when the crown is relying on unimportant measures.
Justice Abdullah acquitted the accused person on count two, saying he did not find the evidence adduced before the court neither direct or circumstantial evidence, showing that the accused as the then Secretary General and Head of Presidential Affairs had neglected to perform any of the duties imposed on him by section 4 of the Public Service Act. He said he has not seen any evidence or law and none has been shown to him that brings the activities of Carnegie Minerals within the Public Service or Civil Service that imposes a duty on the accused in his capacity as Secretary General to advise government on the activities of Carnegie Minerals.
Subsequently, the accused person was accordingly acquitted and discharged on the two counts of Economic Crime and Neglect of official duty.
Meanwhile, the accused person walked down from the dock calmly. He shook hands with almost all those present in court. He was escorted by families and friends out of the courtroom.