By Lamin Fatty
The murder case of Amadou Gagigo and two others at the high court in Basse will be struck out and the accused discharged if the prosecution failed to file an indictment by the next proceeding, the presiding judge asserted in a crowded courtroom on Tuesday, 17th May 2022.
Justice Landing M Sanneh, the presiding judge has lost patience on the failure of the prosecution to file an indictment since the accused persons were arraigned before court on 31st December, 2021, resulting to repeated adjournments without any progress in the case. Justice Sanneh made it clear in court that this would be the last adjournment he would tolerate without an indictment.
He was responding to the application of State Counsel, I. Cham for a short adjournment as he is still waiting for approval by management to file or not to file a case against the accused.
“Unfortunately I cannot take any decision to file or not to file a case against the accused. However, I am waiting for management for approval to file or not. I am therefore applying for a short adjournment so as to consult management, I am apologising to this court and I am sure that before the next adjournment date I will know how to proceed with this case,” State Counsel, I. Cham told the court.
Responding to the application, Justice Landing M Sanneh indicated that the case was first mentioned in his Court on 21st February 2022, after the accused persons were arraigned before the lower court and remanded in custody for lack of jurisdiction to proceed with the matter which was on the 31st December 2021. He stressed that it is now over four months since he took over this case and still the accused persons are not charged and state’s failure to press charges against the accused since December 2021 is considered as gross violation of section 24 of the Constitution of The Gambia.
“This court however will give the prosecution one more chance to either file charges against the accused persons or not, if they so wish. If the state failed to file indictment against the accused before the next adjourned date, this court will undoubtedly discharged the accused and strike out [the case] for lack of indictment,” the judge ruled.
He then adjourned the matter till the 1st June 2022 for mention in Basse.
Families of the victims and many others who attended the court proceedings expressed disappointment in the state prosecution office for lack of diligent prosecution.
By Lamin Fatty