Saturday, June 12, 2010

Human Rights Activist Case Defence Make "No Case Submssion"

The on going trial of Edward Nebolisa Nwakame the Director of Alliance for Democracy and Good Governance (ADG) on Wednesday proceeded before Magistrate Hillary Abeke of Banjul Magistrates’ Court with the submission of ‘no case to answer’ by the defence counsel, Hagum Gaye.
In making her submission of ‘no case to answer’, the defence counsel for the accused Hagum Gaye submitted that there is no case for the accused person for giving false information to a public officer contrary to section 114 (a) of the Criminal Code Cap 10 Volume Three, Laws of the Gambia. She added that for the persecutors to sustain the conviction of the accused they must prove their case beyond all reasonable doubt. 
 She added that they have failed to prove all the ingredients. She asked for the false information that the accused person allegedly gave to the office of the president? She raised the issue of intention. She argued that if the accused person knows that such information alleged to have been given to the public servant is false, did the accused person on account of the alleged information intend to hurt the public servant? 
 She added that the two witnesses that were called were P W 1 Mamadou Badgie a programme officer attached to the Department of NGO Affairs Agency at the Ministry of Interior and P W 2 Saikou Jadama, a police officer attached to the Serious Crime Unit at Banjul police headquarters. She summarised the evidence as follows:PW 1 stated that on the 21st of February 2010 the accused wrote a letter to the Secretary General regarding the status of the accused person’s organisation in the Gambia.
 She said PW 1 did not at any time state that he knows the accused or his organization. She said Saikou Jadama, the second prosecution witness stated in evidence that he met the accused at the police headquarters where he recorded a cautionary statement from the accused in an office of the intelligence unit and added that the said cautionary statement according to the second prosecution witness was written in the presence of an independent witness but could not remember the name of this independent witness.
 She said it was stated in the statement that a Mr. Ceesay from Busumbala is the independent witness.
She noted that there was no need for cross examining P W 2; that what the prosecution tendered were three exhibits and according to her two of them were tendered by P W 1 i.e. H and A. 

 She added that the letter written to the SG bearing reference NGO 139/156/01/11/ (57) and exhibit B is PW1’s statement dated 2nd March 2010 and exhibit C is the cautionary statement tendered by P W 2. She argued that the accused is charged with giving false information to a public servant knowing it to be false and that such evidence had not been led by the prosecution to that effect to discharge their burden of proof, thereby making it impossible to sustain the conviction.
 She further indicated that the right of an accused person to make a ‘no case to answer’ is recognised by the laws of the Gambia. She said that the law has given this principle a statutory requirement when necessary and section 166 of the CC provides that if at the close of evidence it appears to the court that there is no sufficient evidence adduced to require an accused person to make a defence, the court shall acquit him. She further said that the submission of a ‘no case to answer’ should be allowed when there is no sufficient evidence adduced. She added that the consideration here is the sufficiency of evidence and asked, has the prosecution attained the necessary minimum of evidence to establish a prima facie case? 

 She further told the court that none of the prosecution witnesses gave evidence that the accused person gave false information to the office of the president. She added that no document was tendered to the court by the prosecution to show that it is the alleged false information. There is absolutely nothing before the court apart from the charge sheet” says the defence counsel. She added that it is only when there is evidence that a crime has been committed could the accused person be called to make a defence which she said is not the issue in this case.
“The evidence in this case is light years away from that.” “The most interesting thing in this case however is that there is no ground that the alleged crime has been committed by the accused.”
She finally said “we therefore respectfully urge the court to come to the one and only possible verdict that is open to the court in this case, that the accused has no case to answer and we urge the court to show good to acquit and discharge the accused,” the defence counsel concluded.
Cadet Inspector Ebrima Manneh appeared for the IGP and the case was adjourned to the 17th of June for the prosecution to reply to the ‘no case submission’ made by the defence counsel.
It could be recalled that the aforesaid person was charged with giving false information to the office of the president contrary to section 114 of the Criminal Code Cap 10, Volume Three, Laws of the Gambia.

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