Friday, April 16, 2021

Judge in Koina Caste Scuffle Case Threatens to Revoke Accused Persons’ Bail following their Absence from Court

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By Lamin Fatty

Justice Landing B. Sanneh of the Basse High Court has warned the accused persons in the Koina Caste Scuffle Case that he will revoke their bail if they continue with their habit of not coming to court.

Justice Sanneh made this comment on Wednesday, 17th March 2021.

The case emanated from a clash between people of different the free born and the so called slave of Koina on Saturday 25th May 2019, resulting to injuries and setting houses ablaze.

The accused persons are accused of unlawful and willful assault causing actual bodily harm contrary to the criminal code. The second count was arson contrary to section 305 of the criminal code.

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The case was transferred to the high court and the accused persons were remanded at the Jajangbureh prisons.

On Monday 30 July 2019, they were granted bail by Jajangbureh high court. Lawyer Jallow is the lawyer for the so-called free born. The complaints are the so-called slave class (“Ganbanaax“)

The Judge also asked them to change their lawyer since Counsel Kaddijatou Jallow was not showing up.

“You must come to court on any adjournment date whether your lawyer is coming or not. Even if the prosecution is absent, that should not prevent you [referring to the accused persons] from coming to court. The only time you should not come to court is when there is no court and next time if anyone of you fail to show up in court, at any adjournment date, I will revoke your bails and send you back to remand.

The Judge added: “To say ‘our lawyer is not coming to court’ that should not be an excuse. If you are not coming to court with tangible reasons, you should formally write to the court. I repeat the next time you fail to appear in court, without any tangible reasons, I will revoke your bail. Today I will allow you to go home and when you go home you pass the message across.”

Abdul Aziz Saho, who was representing the State, said the Defence lawyer (K. Jallow) has not been going to Court and has not been receiving his calls or replying to his messages.

He detailed that prosecution witness one, Mariatou Suko has been coming to court and should have been cross-examined by Lawyer K. Jallow, who, he said, has not been coming to court for quite a long time now.

Since he travels to Basse occasionally to prosecute cases, Saho said PW1 was arraigned for the Defence’s cross-examination, but Lawyer Jallow was not showing up.

Lawyer Saho asked the Court to make an order for change of Counsel for the accused persons in order for the case to proceed since their lawyer has not been coming suggesting the Legal Aid as possibility.

Justice Sanneh said it was better for them look for another Counsel especially for those, who were being represented by Counsel Jallow. The Judge stated that the case has suffered  delay, adding the case will proceed even if Lawyer Jallow fails to turn up on the next adjourned date to cross-examine prosecution witness one.

The Judge said Counsels should always be in court to defend their clients

“The court cannot be held at ransom being the reason for Counsel’s absence or not. Therefore, we are applying for this court to tell the accused persons to change their Counsels or for this court to make an order for the Legal Aid to provide representative for accused persons  so that we can proceed with this case” Saho said.

Saho added that: “I think because of the reason that the accused persons are on bail perhaps that is why they [referring to the Defence counsels] are not pursuing the case. If the accused persons are at remand, their counsels will be serious with the case.”

Justice Sanneh in making the order asked the accused persons to change their counsel in order for the case to proceed. The case was adjourned to Monday, 22nd March 2021.

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