Gambia: Court Refuses Application for TRRC's Executive Secretary to Testify

Police officer Ensa Badjie

Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the High Court on Monday 11th November made a ruling setting aside an application for the Executive Secretary of TRRC to appear before it and testify.

The court held that the defence used the wrong form and advised them to use the appropriate form if they desire to reapply. This closes the chapter of the issuing of a bench warrant for the arrest of Dr Baba Galleh Jallow, the Executive Secretary of TRRC, at least for the time being.

The application, made by Yankuba Touray's defence counsel, Mr Abdoulie Sissoho, asked the Court to issue a bench warrant for the arrest of Dr Baba Galleh, for his failure to honour the Court's order for him to appear in Court and tender documents relating to the matter under trial.

The judge in his ruling said he noticed that the defence counsel used form 14 in the Third Schedule of the High Court Rules, which is intended to summon a witness to attend court proceedings and testify as a witness on everything he or she knows in the matter under trial.

"I must say that the Executive Secretary is not a witness in this criminal trial. The form used by Defence Counsel is the wrong one and it is misleading, hence the Executive Secretary is not commanded to attend Court and testify as a witness," said Justice Jaiteh.

The Judge went on to say that the proper judicial form in the Third Schedule that the defence counsel should have used is Form 17 which is a 'notice to produce documents at trial'. The Judge said Form 17 is in tandem with the provision of section 221 of the Evidence Act.

"Since the subpoena to the Executive Secretary of the TRRC was brought under a wrong judicial form, the said Subpoena issued on the 25th of October, 2019, is hereby set aside. Counsel for the defence is at liberty to apply afresh and is strongly urged to use the appropriate judicial form contained in the third Schedule of the Courts Act," he ordered.

Dr Baba Galleh, Executive Secretary of the Truth Reconciliation, Reparation Commission (TRRC) which investigates alleged human rights violation meted on people under the Jammeh Regime was ordered by Justice Jaiteh of the High Court to appear in Court and produce documents which include written statements of TRRC's Witness Ensa Mendy in connection to the death of Ousman Koro Ceesay, a one-time Minister of Finance under the AFPRC's regime.

The prosecutor had vehemently opposed the application of the defence and submitted that the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) guides Criminal trials. The prosecutor referred the Court to sections 233 to 240 of the said CPC and argued that there are procedures to be followed by the Court. The prosecutor argued that the application of the defence is to call another witness to testify when already Prosecution Witness Two (PW2's) is testifying.

Yankuba Touray is charged with a single count of murder. The particulars of the offence state that Touray sometime in June 1995, with malice aforethought caused the death of Ousman Koro Ceesay by beating him with a pestle (object) and other dangerous weapon. His trial began in the wake of his refusal to testify before the TRRC, claiming Constitutional Immunity.

The case is adjourned till 18th November at 10 am.

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