Magistrate overrules defense objection in ex-AG’s trial

By IAfrica
In Gambia
May 28th, 2014

Principal Magistrate Hilary Abeke of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court Tuesday overruled the objection raised by defense counsel, Lawyer B.S Touray over the way the second prosecution (PW2) Karafa Keita, a resident of Banjul and businessman was responding in his evidence.

Lawyer Touray made this remark at Tuesday’s sittings in the ongoing criminal trial involving the State against the jailed former Attorney -General, Minister of Justice, Lamin AMS Jobarteh.

It came about when PW2 entered the witness box and was asked to cast his mind back in the month of May 2012 and tell the court what he knows. He instead started by narrating issues that took place in 2000, prompting the defense counsel to raise an objection.  He then urged the court to control the witness to answer the question as put to him by state counsel, Lawyer M.B Agiah.

In response, the state counsel, M.B Agiah also reacted that “before 2012 it arose somewhere that his witness (PW2) should tell the court all what he knows about this case.”

Delivering the ruling, Magistrate Abeke stated that the state has the power to conduct its case through her witness to narrate factual issue in the case. He asserted that “there is no limit to the witness’ narration, therefore he (PW2) is entitled to what he wants, the court has no power to stop him, if such is relevant to his case.”

He further ruled that the witness should continue his narration without any further interruption, except where inadmissible issues are involved according to the law.  Hearing continues on the 10th June 2014. 

It could be recalled that the accused is charged with two-count of criminal offences, ranging from abuse of office to destroying evidence, contrary to the Laws of The Gambia.

According to the particulars of offence, the accused sometime in the month of May 2012 at the Ministry of Justice in Banjul within the jurisdiction of this court, whilst being employed as attorney- general and Minister of Justice, acted on the powers of his Office and instructed Ms Anna Dibba, then state counsel at the Special Litigation Department to effect a withdrawal of a legal suit – the state vs Muhammed Kebbeh and Alhagie Ash John, that was before the Banjul Magistrates’ Court, and thereby committed an offence.

The particulars of offence on count two revealed that the accused person sometime in the  month of May 2012 obtained a case file- state vs Muhammed Kebbeh and Alhagie Ash John from Ms Anna Dibba, then at the Special Litigation Department in the Ministry of Justice, wilfully destroyed the case file, with the intention of preventing it from being used in further proceedings, and thereby committed an offence,  charges he denied.

Author: Lama S. Jallow & Sainabou Jatta

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