8 March 2018

Gambia: In the NIA 9 Trial - 'No Interpreter, No Proceedings' Prosecution

The head of prosecution in the trial involving former intelligence chief of the NIA, Lawyer Antouman AB Gaye, has told the Banjul High Court that without an interpreter, there will be no proceedings.

Lawyer Gaye made this remark when the trial Judge Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara, told him that there was an Assistant Registrar of the High Court who was going to be sworn in as an interpreter.

In his intervention, Lawyer Gaye said since there was no interpreter available for the trial, the matter should be adjourned for the interest of both the prosecution and the defence. He said for the interest of justice in the trial, the Assistant Registrar cannot assume the role of an interpreter; that even if there was an interpreter, the case could not have proceeded due to the absence of Counsels for the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th accused persons.

For his part, the lead defense Counsel CE Mene for the first accused person, made similar remarks; that a Registrar cannot be an interpreter.

In her ruling, the trial Judge relied on the issue of the absence of the defense Lawyers and adjourned the case. She said the case cannot proceed in the absence of the Lawyers of the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th accused persons; that the accused persons face charges of capital offence and that they have the right to be represented. She held that the Lawyers have the duty to represent their clients in every court sitting and called on them to endeavour to appear on Monday the 12th March 2018.

Before the ruling, the Court went on a fifteen minutes recess. The trial Judge said it is not the duty for the Court to wait for Counsels; that instead it is the responsibility of Counsels to wait for the Court. She said for the interest of justice and fair hearing, the Court will stand down for fifteen minutes. She called on all Lawyers to be in Court on time and represent their clients because they face capital offence charges and registered her disappointment on the act of the Lawyers.

At the time she made these statements, the Lawyers present were Lawyer Antouman A.B. Gaye, Combeh Gaye, Yassin Senghore and Rachel Y. Mendy for the State whilst Lawyer CE Mene and Lawyer Ibrahim Jallow appeared for the first and the third accused persons respectively. The case was adjourned to Monday, 12th March 2018 for continuation of proceedings.

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