6 December 2018

Gambia: In the NIA 9 Case - High Court to Visit Banjul Mortuary

The Banjul High Court presided over by Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara, will visit the Banjul Mortuary on Monday, December 10th for Superintendent Thomas Gomez to identify the body of the late Solo Sandeng, a mattress, some gloves and some clothing.

This development came about when Yassin Senghore, a prosecutor in the trial of Yankuba Badjie and six others who were employees of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), made an application for the court to visit the mortuary, for the witness (Superintendent Thomas Gomez), to identify the body of the late Solo Sandeng, the mattress he was laid on, and the gloves and clothing that were recovered at the NIA Annex in Tanji.

Gomez told the Court that he led a team of investigators who exhumed the body of the late Solo Sandeng; that they recovered the body of the late Solo Sandeng, a mattress, gloves and clothes.

"For the gloves, I could not recall the number we recovered. For the clothing, they are still at the mortuary but they are torn, due to the level of the decomposition that took place. The mattress is not torn apart, but it is stained, believed to be reminiscent of the decomposition," he said.

Lawyers CE Mene, Ibrahim Jallow, O. Suso and D. Dargbo for the defence, objected to the said application. The defence argued that the Court has set a precedence that such applications should be made formal and not oral; that the Court should not divert itself from that precedence.

Counsel Yassin Senghore in her counter argument, stated that since the defence has not objected to the application but instead request for it to be made formal, there is no requirement for such application to be made formal, and no legal bases for such. "Making the application formal is just a waste of time and it serves no absolute purpose. There is no requirement for a formal application," she argued.

Lawyer Mene in his reply said the Court is a Court of record and not a Court of summary jurisdiction. He urged the Court to abide by its decisions.

In her ruling, Justice Camara said it is obvious that the defence is not objecting to the application; that what is the purpose of making a formal application, when the defence will not object to it. She held that the objection was based on technicalities and not on substance. She overruled the objection of the defence and allowed the application.

The accused persons in the case are Yankuba Badjie, the former DG NIA, Sheikh Omar Jeng, former Director of operations NIA, Baboucar Sallah, Haruna Suso, Tamba Masireh, Lamin Darboe and Lamin Lang Sanyang.

The accused persons face 25 Counts ranging from murder, conspiracy to commit murder, torture, and conspiracy to commit felony, among many others. The accused persons denied culpability of all the charges.


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