17 July 2017

Gambia: Witness's Failure to Appear in Court May Compel Magistrate to Issue Bench Warrant

Principal Magistrate Isatou Janneh-Njie, last Thursday said she will issue a bench warrant for the arrest of Sergeant Nfamara Kambi, a member of The Gambia Armed Forces and a prosecution witness in the alleged Pistol trial of Sergeant Baboucarr Njie should he fail to appear in court the next adjourned date, which is tomorrow 18th July.

The magistrate's ruling follows Police Prosecutor Superintendent Mballow's application for the court to subpoena (a writ ordering a person to attend a court) Sergeant Nfamara Kambi and appealed to the court to adjourn the matter for cross-examination of the witness.

The earlier prosecutor of the case, Inspector Abdoulie Bojang, referred the court to Section 117 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), but Superintendent Mballow intervened and took over the matter from his junior prosecutor as he was trying to reply on point of law.

Defence Counsel Sherriff Kumba Jobe said they were maintaining their earlier objection; saying the prosecution had misconceived Section 117 of the Criminal Procedure Code because that Section deals with in possession of material or documentary evidence.

Superintendent Mballow then applied to withdraw the adjournment application on grounds that the witness was out of the jurisdiction for a naming ceremony.

Counsel Jobe maintained that the prosecution had not laid any proper foundation that the witness had any document or evidence to be determined by the court, but Superintendent Mballow said Section 117 is not limited or restricted to the provision of documents or material evidence.

Hearing continues tomorrow.

Sainabou Jatta

Gambia

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