Lawyers Appeal to Court to Ensure Constitutional Rights of Accused Persons are Respected


By Mamadou Dem
Lawyers for staff of the Rural Finance Project standing trial at the High Court in Banjul yesterday appealed to the Superior CourtEbrima Jawara, CPCU CoordinatorFatajo to ensure their clients’ rights are respected in order to enable them have access to their family members, medications and clothing while in
remand custody at the state central prison at Mile (II).

The defendants include Dr. Alasan Bah, Ebrima Jawara, Sulayman Manneh, Lamin Fatajo and Momodou Lamin Mass.

When the accused persons appeared before Justice Muhammed Dan Azumi
Balarabe of the said court, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)
Hadi Saleh Barkun intimated to the court that the case was transferred
from the subordinate  court in Banjul on grounds of jurisdiction. He
said a bill of indictment has not been filed due to the fact that
investigations are still ongoing.
“We crave the court’s indulgence to give us more time within weeks to
lease with the police to get the case diary and write our legal
opinion and probably file a bill of indictment,” the DPP submitted
Attorney for Dr. Alasan Bah, Hawa Sisay Sabally opposed the
application. She noted that her client has been wearing the same
shirt and trousers since the day of his arrest and is not allowed access to family members. She added that the accused was charged and
taken to the Banjul Magistrates’ court and subsequently remanded in
custody without the opportunity of been represented by a lawyer.
She therefore applied for the court to grant her an oral application
for bail as per the ‘Practice Direction’ (1), 2013 in seeking bail for
his client. She also cited some case laws. The DPP opposed this application saying
that the police are still investigating the matter and they do not have the case
file with them. He called for Mrs Sisay Sabally to do her bail
application formally.
The trial Judge, Justice Balarabe ordered the defence to file a formal
bail application.
Counsel for Mr. Jawara, Ida Drammeh alongside Modou Drammeh also
submitted that the defendant does not have access to family members, medicine and
clothing which is unconstitutional; adding that
this is the first time they are seeing the accused persons.
Edward Singhatey, counsel for Lamin Fatajo and Momodou Lamin Mass (4th
and 5th accused persons) informed the court that the accused persons were held
in solitary confinement and not in the remand wing as earlier ordered
by the lower court in Banjul.
The matter was adjourned till Tuesday 22nd of this month for the hearing of the bail
application while hearing on the substantive matter was adjourned till September
28th for mention.
Readers would recall that Prosecutors earlier presented at the lower
court in Banjul a ten count indictment against the aforesaid persons
ranging from Stealing by Person in Public Service, Abuse of office,
stealing by clerk or servants, theft to four counts of Economic Crime,
charges they deny.