By Nelson Manneh
Barrister Kimbeng Tah has on Wednesday 21st October 2020 urged the court to dismiss Defence Lawyer Abdoulie Sisoho’s application for the high court to enforce the constitutional immunity accorded to Yankuba Touray by the 1997 Constitution.
He asked the Court to allow him to continue with his case.
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 where he is accused of murder. 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.
Lawyer Abdoulie Sisoho initially made an application for the high court to enforce the constitutional immunity accorded to Yankuba Touray by the 1997 Constitution.
He said the murder charge that his client is facing was illegal and contrary to the 1997 Constitution. He said the powers of the high court to try retired Captain Yankuba Touray has been taken away by the 1997 Constitution which accords Mr. Touray and all members of the AFPRC government including ministers immunity from legal proceedings, whether civil or criminal.
Lawyer K. Tah in his response said with regards to the loss of jurisdiction, his submission is that it can only be ascertained once the court is in a position to properly gather the facts and nature of the charge against the accused person.
He said with regards to the defence application for the high court to enforce Touray’s constitutional immunity, Counsel Tah said the right the defence is talking about is not automatic and is subject to legal implication or met certain requirements which include being a member of the AFPRC council.
Lawyer Tah said their position is that there should be a clear line to be drawn between answerable and been liable.
“There is no need for the court to interpret paragraph 13 (1) of the 1997 Constitution, our submission is that the accused person is not entitled to the immunity in paragraph 13 (1),” he said.
He said paragraph 13 (5) of the 1997 Constitution exclusively referred to an act done under the order by the AFPRC council and in the absence of any fact which will help the court to determine the source of the order shows that the application made by the defence counsel for Touray is premature.
He urged the court to dismiss the application made by the defence and allow the accused person to continue with his case.
The matter was adjourned to Monday 26th October 2020 at 1 pm.