By Lamin Sanyang
The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), SH Barkun, yesterday, Thursday, 31 July 2014, made a submission on his competency to appear in the law suit filed against the State for the unlawful detention of one Mr. Momodou Sowe, a former State House employee, who has been in state custody for almost two years without being taken to court.
The DPP, in his submission before Justice Mikhailu Abdullah of the Criminal Division of the Banjul High Court, said he has the mandate to appear for the Attorney General (AG) in any matter before the court.
“The constitutional jurisdiction which she relied on is not exclusive, therefore, the functions of the (DPP), as stipulated by Section 85 of the Constitution, is open,” said DPP Barkun.
He further submitted that the lawyer for the applicant has not provided any authority to suggest that the DPP cannot appear for the Attorney General in civil matters. He said Section 85 of the Constitution is like any other provision which can be mitigated by other powers. He argued that the constitutional provision which the counsel is relying on cannot debar him from the case.
At this juncture, Mr. Barkun drew the attention of the court to Section 13 (4) and (1) of the State Proceeding Act. He further cited Section 7 (1a) of the Court Act, arguing that as a public officer he has the legitimacy to appear for the Attorney General in this matter.
“The Attorney General has the power to delegate any public officer or individual to appear in any case, provided that one is a public and law officer, nothing can debar the Director of Public Prosecution to appear in any proceedings,” he submitted.
The DPP further referred to Section 18 of the Legal Practicing Act, arguing that the Inspector General of Police is a public officer and urged the court to dismiss the application made by the lawyer for the applicant.
Lawyer Sagarr Jahateh, counsel for the applicant, applied for an adjournment to reply to the submission made by the DPP.
Subsequently, the matter was adjourned to Tuesday, 5th August 2014.
The applicant (Momodou Sowe) was not present in court.