22 February 2013

Gambia: Legal Aid Agency Accepts Unfortunate Thief's Brief

The Gambia Court of Appeal, presided over by Justice M.M Agyemang, Justice N. Sallah-Wadda and Justice Amie Joof yesterday gave a thumbs up to Lawyer Oleide Uduma of the National Agency for Legal Aid for accepting to take the brief of one Abdoulie Bah. The appellant Abdoulie Bah was convicted and sentenced for the offence of stealing and house breaking.

When the matter came up before the court yesterday, the appellant indicated that he has no financial strength to secure the services of a legal counsel to defend his appeal.

Justice M.M Agyemang then asked the private legal practitioners present in the court to take the said brief on probono. The first lawyer M.N.O Njie indicated that he does probono work but not on criminal matters. At this point, Justice Agyemang revealed that Lawyer Njie has a criminal ruling before the court, but wondered why he refused to take the appellant's brief.

For her part, Lawyer Anna Njie told the court that she doesn't take criminal cases.

When Lawyer H.S Sabally was also asked if she could take the case, she told the court that if it was something else, she would accept it but for stealing and house breaking, she would never take, because of the mayhem of these men in the underworld. "You cannot sleep in the night because of these people," she remarked.

Justice Agyemang then turned to Lawyer Oleidi Uduma and asked her if the Legal Aid Agency could take the case, noting that though it is not within their purview to take such cases, they could help. Lawyer Uduma Oleidi obliged the court's request. Justice Agyemang then ordered that the paper be set right and the matter was adjourned to the 6th March 2013 for mention.

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