26 June 2012

Gambia: Lang Tombong & Co Appeal to Be Heard in October

The Supreme Court of The Gambia, presided over by the chief justice, Emmanuel A. Agim and four other Judges Monday adjourned the criminal appeal case involving the ex-chief of Defence Staff, Lang Tombong Tamba and six others against the State to the next Supreme Court session in October 2012.

The appellants are Lang Tombong Tamba, Omar Bun Mbye, Kawsu Camara, Lamin BO Badjie, Gibril Ngorr Secka, Modou Gaye and Lie Joof. During Monday's sitting, the appellants' counsel, Sherif Marie Tambadou, informed the court that he filed the appellants brief on the 18th June 2012 and same was served on the respondent (the state) on the same day.

In his response, the deputy director of Special Litigations (DDSL) Simeon Ateh Abi informed the court that he was still working on the respondent's brief, adding that the respondent is still within the stipulated period (within seven days) to file its brief. S.M Tambedou then asked the Supreme Court to limit the time for the respondent to file its reply. DDSL S.A Abi however assured the Supreme Court that he would file its brief within seven days from yesterday.

Chief Justice Emmanuel A. Agim then remarked that it is obvious that the said matter cannot be determined in this term. The chief justice however urged the State/respondent to file its brief within the seven (7) days, noting that it is important that the matter is filed so that the judges can study them whilst they are away. The matter was then adjourned to October session of the Supreme Court sittings for mention.

The appellants appeal came in the wake of the Gambia Court of Appeal dismissal of their appeal on the 14th April , 2011 with the lead judgment of the court delivered by Justice Joseph Wowo, the president of the said court.

By an information filed in the High Court on the 16th March 2010, the appellants were together with two others at large, charged with one count of conspiracy to commit treason contrary to Section 35(1)(g) and two counts of treason contrary to Section 35(1)(a) and Sections 35(1)(d) of the Criminal Code Cap 10 Volume 111, Laws of The Gambia.

Following an application by the State to withdraw the charges against one Colonel Ndure Cham and Omar Camara who were both said to be at large, the appellants were all arraigned on the 17th March ,2010 and they all pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

The trial of the appellants commenced on the 22nd March 2010 before the High Court, presided over by Justice Emmanuel A. Amadi and on the 13th May ,2010, the prosecution closed its case after which a submission of no case was made on their behalf. On the 17th May, 2010, Justice Emmanuel A. Amadi delivered a ruling on the submission of no case made on behalf of the appellants and rejected the same and ordered that each of the appellants enter into his defence.

Each of the appellants gave evidence in defence and all were convicted on counts one and two of the charges, i.e. contrary to Section 35(1) (G) of the offence of conspiracy to commit treason and Section 35(1)(a) of the offence of treason. All the appellants were each sentenced to death in respect of the said counts on the 15th July, 2010. Being dissatisfied with their conviction and sentence, the appellants filed a notice of appeal on the 23rd July 2010 in the Gambia Court of Appeal.

The brief of the appellants were filed on the 7th February, 2011 and the Gambia Court of Appeal dismissed the said appeal and again dissatisfied with the verdict of the Gambia Court of Appeal, they all filed separate and individual appeals to the Supreme Court of The Gambia in May 2011.

The appeals of the appellants were consolidated following an application made on their behalf and an order of consolidation was made by Chief Justice Emmanuel A. Agim sitting as a single Judge of the Supreme Court.

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