“We’ve established a prima facie case against Sait Matty” – prosecutor


By Mamadou Dem Mr Drammeh, the prosecutor at the trial of Sait Matty Jaw submitted atSait Matty Jaw his trial at the Banjul Magistrates Court yesterday, 15 April, that the prosecution has established a prima facie case against the accused, Sait Matty Jaw.Attorney for Sait Matty Jaw, Lamin S Camara had earlier appealed to the lower court in Banjul to acquit and discharge the History Lecturer at Gambia’s own University, Sait Matty Jaw for lack of enough evidence warranting him to open his defence. Mr. Jaw is being tried on the following charges: conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor, failure to register a business and two counts of Disobedience of Statutory Duty, contrary to the laws of The Gambia. Replying to the defence’s no case to answer submission, state counsel Babucarr Drammeh submitted that it is trite law that for  a court to hold no case submission, there are facts that the court need to look into i.e. whether the necessary elements of the charge or offence has been established by the prosecution. He said the question that needs to be asked is “What are the ingredients or elements the accused is charged with?” At that juncture, he quickly drew the attention of the court to all the counts on the charge sheet and read them respectively. According to the prosecution, evidence adduced by prosecution witnesses and elements of the offences have been established. He therefore urged the court to reject the defence’s application and ordered the accused person to enter his defence. Prior to the above submissions, the prosecutor argued that the ingredients surrendered by the prosecution shows that the offence was committed; adding that there was an agreement between the accused persons and the convicts in this case. “Even though there is no direct evidence to prove the evidence, it can be proved by either direct evidence or circumstantial evidence,” he submitted. Lawyer Drammeh further submitted that the cautionary statement of the accused person (Exhibit A1) was tendered in evidence without objection from the defence even whereby they submitted that the said statement was defective. He said the defence only questioned whether an independent witness was present. He therefore submitted that a prima facie case has been established against the accused person in respect to all charges meted against him. Regarding the registration of a business as alleged on count two, the state submitted that the activities of the accused person were qualified as a business in accordance with the single windows Business Registration Act 2013. He further referred the court to Section 7 of the said Act. Prosecution further alleged that the history lecturer did not only mobilise people for the training but he participated during the training. The state counsel maintained that all prosecution witnesses presented before the court were credible; adding that the burden of proof of a case beyond reasonable doubt lies on the shoulders of the prosecution. However what is required for the prosecution is to establish a prima facie case, so proof beyond reasonable doubt is not an issue at this stage of the trial. According to Barrister Drammeh the issue or issues at hand is whether the prosecution has established a prima facie case against the accused. He added that the proof of a no case to answer submission when made on behalf of an accused is that the trial court is not called at that stage to express any opinion on the evidence before it. The court is only called upon to take note and rule accordingly. “It is our submission that the evidence before the court has indeed supported the charge against the accused person. The proof of guilty or not guilty is not to be determined at this stage,” he opined. “We urge the court to reject the defence’s application and allow the accused to enter his defence,” he concluded. In his reply, lawyer Lamin Camara submitted that exhibit A1 is admissible but has no probative values and therefore the court cannot rely on the content for a simple reason that there was no independent witness. On the single window Business Registration Act, Camara submitted that assuming without conceding that the accused conducted a business, the court is enjoined to look at section 44 sub (5) (a) of the Act which he cited in court. According to Camara, even if it was a business, his client cannot be convicted on the offence. “I finally urge Your Worship to discount the reply, and acquit and discharge the accused person for lack of evidence.” At that juncture, the matter was adjourned till 29 April 2015 for ruling on the ‘no case to answer’ submission.]]>