By Kebba Jeffang
Defence counsel for Borry J. Saidy, former Air Traffic Services Manager at the Banjul International Airport, asked the Brikama Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, 1st December, 2015 to acquit and discharge his client since the prosecution and its witness are not willing to proceed with the matter.
In his ruling, Magistrate Hilary Abeke denied the defence’s application for an acquittal and gave the prosecution another chance before striking out the case.
Mr. Saidy is facing trial for allegedly giving false information to the office of the president about his being unfairly treated at his workplace.
When the matter was called, police prosecutor Sergeant Touray represented the IGP whilst lawyer Borry .S Touray appeared for the accused person.
At this point in the proceedings, Sgt. Touray applied for an adjournment to allow the actual prosecutor, Sub Inspector Gibba, who was said to be sick, to continue with the case.
In his response, counsel Touray opposed the prosecution’s application, arguing that the said SI Gibba is not the prosecutor in this case. He said Gibba has never announced his appearance for the IGP in the matter, adding that it is Chief Inspector Camara and Sub Inspector Sarr who are handling the case. He said Sarr was in court but failed to take permission from the court regarding his absence. He said the prosecution witness is under cross examination and has not been consistently appearing in the case for at least four times and no reason has ever been giving for his absence.
“Assuming that all the three prosecutors are unwell, I see no reason for the witness’ failure to come to court. Cross examination can still be conducted while Sgt. Touray can hold brief for the IGP. On the last adjourned date, this court made its second warning to the prosecutor that if the prosecution witness does not appear at the next sitting, the matter will be struck out. So we are asking that the matter be struck out,” he said.
Defence counsel added that his client continues to be victimized on four occassions. He said he was unfairly treated at his workplace because PW1, Fabakary Kalleh, was the one being favoured. Secondly, he said, the petition was written by client to the executive about him being unfairly treated and that because of the misinformation given to the executive by the management, he was sacked and that this was the second ill-treatment. He further argued that his client was later charged and that the final ill-treatment is the fact that both the prosecution and its witness are refusing to proceed with the matter. He said they are punishing his client by their default since the accused cannot continue with his other engagements.
“My client has 11 international certificates and as an expert, he is deprived of his functional work. He has a document showing he is the most qualified personnel not in the country but the entire sub region. They (prosecution) know that the truth will be exposed when the matter proceeds. You cannot connive to do your things, and charge someone and when the trial comes you run away. We are asking for this case to be struck out,” submitted counsel Touray.
In his reply, Sgt Touray urged the court to turn down the application made by the counsel on the grounds that Sub-Inspector Gibba is the actual prosecutor in the case. He told the court that Chief Inspector Camara and SI Sarr were initially responsible for the matter but this is no longer the case as Camara has been transferred to Bansang and thus handing it over to SI Gibba.
“SI Gibba is the actual prosecutor and he is sick. So he couldn’t come. We urged the court to grant our adjournment application for one more time,” Sgt Touray submitted.
Meanwhile, in his ruling, Magistrate Abeke said SI Gibba has once appeared in the case when the counsel was not in court. He said they have given the benefit of the doubt to the counsel who has never been absent in the case and then adjourned the case at the time.
The trial magistrates said he holds that SI Gibba is the actual prosecutor and that he is sick. He therefore ordered for the matter to be adjourned to 7th December, 2015 for the continuation of cross examination of PW1.