Gambia: 'Defence Should Treat Court With Respect'

Superintendent Manga, the prosecuting officer in the case involving Musa YalliBatchilly, yesterday advised the defence before Principal Magistrate Isatou Janneh-Njie of the Kanifing Magistrates' Court to treat the court with respect.

This followed the application made by the defence counsel, Ebrima Kijera, for the court to suspend the case because the accused was assaulted outside the court by the complainant after the last sitting. He argued that this was a contempt of court. "The accused was held by the collar of his shirt in the presence of some police officers," he told the court.

Prosecutor Manga then told the court that they were not aware of any contempt. He argued that it was out of place to suspend the matter. He stated that the defence did not cite any law to support their argument. He urged the court not to entertain the application. "There is no evidence before the court that suggests that something happened to the accused," he told the court. He then urged the court to ask the defence to open their case.

The presiding magistrate ruled that a formal complaint should be made to the police so that the person who assaulted the accused could be charged. She did not grant the application made by the defence, instead asked the defence to open their case.

Counsel Kijera then told the court that they were not ready to open their defence. He applied for a short adjournment for the defence to open their case.

Superintendent Manga opposed the application. He argued that there was no surprise that the accused should open his defence. He then applied for the accused to forego his defence. "They have no defence. It is the accused who told the court during the last sitting that he is going to open his defence today," he stated.

Magistrate Janneh-Njie again ruled that the argument of the defence could not be substantiated. She added that accused should open his defence.

The case was adjourned to 4May, 2021.

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