(JollofNews) – Lawyers defending nine former senior officers of the Gambia National Intelligence Agency (NIA) accused of killing an executive member of the United Democratic Party (UDP) have expressed anger at their continuous detention at the notorious Mile Two Prisons.
Yankuba Badjie, Louis Gomez, Yusupha Jammeh, Lamin Lang Sanyang, Tamba Masireh, Saikou Omar Jeng, Haruna Suso, Lamin Darboe and Babucarr Sallah were arrested last month and charged with killing Ebrima Solo Sandeng in April 2016.
However, since their first court appearance and subsequent detention on 23rd February, state prosecutors have not furnished their lawyers and the court with any information pertaining to the case.
At the resumption of the case on Monday, State Prosecutor M.B Abubacarr, said although they have received a case file from the police last Friday, he wants the state to be granted a long adjournment to enable them to build a strong case against the accused.
“As things stand at the moment, the investigations are yet to be completed,” he said. “We need more time to engage the police on vital areas such as forensic examination, which requires bringing experts from outside the country.”
Responding to the prosecution, one of the defence lawyers, Moses Richards, said as there is nothing before the court, it is illegal for the court to keep the accused persons incarcerated at the Mile Two Prisons.
He added that as the state has clearly informed the court that it not yet ready to proceed with the case, the accused persons should at least be released on bail if the court is not minded to strike out the charges against them.
“The accused persons do not pose a flight risk and my client [Saikou Omar Jeng] is eager to clear his name as soon as possible,” he said.
“Criminal cases cannot be adjourned for two weeks especially when the accused persons are in custody. My client is sick and was denied his right to see a doctor and it is illegal for the court to keep the accused persons incarcerated without bail, when there was nothing before the court.”
Also addressing the court, Christopher Mene, another defence lawyer said: “According to the state they are still not ready with the investigations, and the information filed was not complete. Documents such as exhibits, summary of evidence, witness statements, among others, are missing and until proper information is before the court and the accused take their plea, the court could not sit on the case.”
He added: “We want your lordship to exercise its discretion to strike out this matter for lack of diligent prosecution. The prosecution can re-arraign the accuse persons when it have time to bring experts all over the world to complete their investigations.”
However the request of the defence lawyers was rejected by the presiding judge, Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara.
The judge said she has taken into consideration the fact the prosecution has filed information to the court. She said she would have struck out the case and discharge the accused persons if they have not been remanded in custody by a lower court.
The case continues.