6 November 2017

Gambia: Senior Lawyer, Solicitor General Face Criminal Charges

Mr. Cherno Marena, the Solicitor General and Lawyer Bory S. Touray, are facing four criminal charges at the Banjul Magistrates' Court presided over by Magistrate Isatou Janneh-Njie. The charges amongst others include, neglect of official duties, obtaining registration by false pretense, making documents without authority and conspiracy to commit misdemeanour. The two accused persons are yet to take their pleas.

Lawyers Bory S. Touray and the Solicitor General of the Gambia, Mr. Cherno Marena, face charges in relation to an alleged registration of a deed of gift at the Registrar General's Office at the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of The Gambia, sometime in the year 2012.

This private prosecution was done relying on Section 69 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code which states: "A person, other than a public prosecutor or police officer, who has reasonable and probable cause to believe that an offence has been committed by a person, may make a complaint thereof to a Magistrate who has jurisdiction to try or inquire into the alleged offence, or within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the accused person is alleged to reside or be. The Complaint may be made orally and shall be reduced into writing by the magistrate and when so reduced shall be signed by the complainant".

When the case was called, Rachel Y. Mendy and Yassin Senghor appeared for the State whilst the claimant Lamin Trawally, was also present. Both accused persons, Lawyer Borry S. Touray 1st accused person and Mr. Cherno Marena the 2nd accused person were present.

When the court resumed, Counsel R.Y. Mendy applied to the court to strike out the application filed by the first accused person Lawyer Borry S. Touray, who also made a written application that the case should be struck out.

In her application, Counsel Mendy urged the court to strike out the case because the charges were not initiated under process of law and also the complainant does not have a locus standi to make the complaint.

In addition, she urged the court to strike out the case because of its frivolity, vexation, abuse of court process and incompetence of the charges before the court.

The claimant told the court that since the inception of the trial, he has always been in attendance whilst the accused persons hampered the trial on two occasions.

He argued that speedy trial is provided for under Section 24 of the Constitution and the accused persons should not use their positions to delay trials.

The criminal charges the accused face include Count 1: Lawyer Bory S. Touray being accused of obtaining registration by false pretense contrary to section 295 of the criminal code cap 10:01. In the particulars of claim, Lawyer Touray is alleged to have wilfully procured the registrations of deeds of gift in the names of Lamin Trawally, sometime in the month of December 2012, at the Registrar General's office, knowing or having reasons to believe that the registrations were false.

On count 2, Lawyer Borry S. Touray is charged for making documents without authority contrary to section 332 (a) of the Criminal Code Cap 10:01. Borry S. Touray in the month of December, 2012, at the Registrar General's office, Ministry of Justice, is alleged to have made five deeds of gift without lawful authority.

In the charge sheet of Count 3, the second accused person is charged with neglect of official duties contrary to section 113 of the Criminal Code of the Gambia.

Mr. Cherno Marena in the month of December 2012 at the Registrar General's office Ministry of Justice, is alleged to have wilfully neglected to perform his duty imposed on him by Law under Section 10 Chapter 57:01 of the Land Registration of Deeds Act, for acknowledgement of the registration of deeds presented to him by Lawyer Borry S. Touray.

On count 4, the two accused persons are charged with conspiracy to commit misdemeanour contrary to section 369 of the Criminal Code of the Gambia, Cap 10:01 in which Mr. Borry S. Touray and Cherno Marena, are alleged to have conspired amongst themselves to wit: register the following deeds of gifts:-

(1) S.R. No. 375/2012. Ref. 31PD,

(2) S.R. NO. 671/2012. REF. 75PD,

(3) S.R. NO. 356/2012. REF. 31PD,

(4) S.R. NO. 355/2012. REF. 31PD and

(5) S.R. NO. 354/2012. REF. 31PD in the names of Lamin Trawally without his consent, knowledge and authority.

The matter was adjourned till 28 November 2017 for the claimant Mr Trawally to respond to the submissions of Counsel R.Y. Mendy.

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