Gambia: State Counsel Says Yankuba Touray's Application for Him to Be Discharged Is Premature

A senior state counsel submitted Tuesday that the application made by lawyer Abdoulie Sissoho for the Court to enforce his client's constitutional immunity was premature, referring the trial judge to section 132 of the 1997 Constitution.

Lawyer Tah, who is representing the State in the murder trial involving former AFPRC/APRC Minister Yankuba Touray, said the rights the defence was asking the Court to enforce, were rights which were subjected to interpretation.

Furthermore, Tah urged the Court to maintain its recent position that the case was premature on the basis of facts.

"Contrary to what the defence put forward, the constitutional immunity does not automatically change the decision of the court," he said.

He added the defence said the accused person is a member of the AFPRC ruling council which they agreed with.

Earlier on Tuesday 20th October 2020, Sissoho made an application for the high court to discharge his client Yankuba Touray by virtue of Section 13 (1), (3) (4) and (5) of the 1997 Constitution.

Lawyer Sisohor told the court that the accused person was not seeking for an interpretation of the 1997constitution, but he was rather invoking his right.

He said there were several immunity clauses in the 1997constitution and once a person affected invoked a particular section of the constitution, the only duty the court had, was to establish the fact and once the fact was established, the jurisdiction of the court was ousted.

He told the court that if an individual was constitutionally immune, he or she could not be held accountable for committing a crime.

Barrister Sisoho submitted that by virtue of the second Schedule of paragraph 13 (1), (3) (4) and (5) of the 1997 Constitution, the accused has constitutional immunity and section 127 of the 1997 Constitution was clear on that.

"I therefore urge this Honourable court by virtue of the second Schedule of paragraph 13 (1), (3) (4) and (5) of the 1997 Constitution to discharge the accused person," he noted.

Touray was a member of the defunct AFPRC Government and was a long-serving Minister of Local Government and Lands under both the AFPRC and APRC regimes. The retired military officer is the third defence witness in his trial. According to the indictment, Mr Touray murdered Ex-Minister of Finance Ousman Koro Ceesay in 1995 at his residence in Kololi. Touray pleaded his constitutional immunity but the court entered a plea of not-guilty on his behalf

The matter was adjourned to today 21st October 2020 at 2 pm for the continuation of state responses on the application made by the defence counsel for Yankuba Touray.

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