By Lamin Sanyang
Justice Kumba Sillah of Banjul High Court has remanded the former NIA Director Yankuba Badjie, Louis Gomez, Haruna Susso, Yusupha Jammeh, Lamin Lang Sanyang, Tamba Massireh, Lamin Darboe, Sheikh Omar Jeng and Babucarr Sallah at the state central prisons Mile II.
The nine former NIA officers are standing criminal trial in the murder of Solo Sandeng, a UDP executive and political activist who was arrested and tortured to death.
When the case was announced this afternoon the state was represented by Lawyers O. Danso and B. Jeng while the defense lawyers Mene, Chime, Uzoma and Dayo appeared for the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 6th accused persons respectively. Four of the accused persons, Tamba Massireh, Yusupha Jammeh, Lamin Darboe and Babucarr Sallah urged the state to provide lawyers for them while Sheikh Omar Jeng said he will get himself a lawyer.
State Counsel Danso made an application for adjournment to get the case file from Office of the Inspector General of Police.
Defense lawyer Mene was opposed to the application, saying the court is not a storage facility as the state has made the same application last sitting without doing anything to proceed with the case. He questioned the reason for the arrest when investigation is incomplete. He explained that the right approach is to investigate first rather than arraigning them when they are not ready to prosecute.
“It shows that the accused were arrested without investigations which is not the right approach in criminal administration,” Lawyer Mene submitted.
Lawyer Mene referred the court to section 19 subsection (5) of the Constitution, urging the court to unconditionally released the accused persons until such a time when prosecution is ready with their case. He further urged the court to dismissed the application made by the state counsel, adding that justice delayed is justice denied.
Meanwhile, lawyers Chime, Uzoma and A. Dayo associated themselves to the submission made by their colleague.
The State Counsel argued that the submissions made by the defense lawyers were misconceived, saying the section quoted does not affect their case as the matter was only transfer to the higher court a week ago. She urged the court to dismissed the submission and grant her application. Subsequently, the court has granted her application by dismissing the defense submission.
“Justice delay is justice deny but justice rushed is also justice denied,” Justice Kumba Sillah said.
The matter was adjourned for mention on Monday, March, 20, 2017. The state was urged to file proper case and provide lawyers for the other accused persons.
Meanwhile, there was a tension when the accused persons were entering the prison van between the daughter of Solo Sandeng and families of the accused.
“You can rot in hell,” Fatoumatta Sandeng, daughter of Solo Sandeng told accused persons.
The incident has triggered tension between Sandeng family and families of the accused persons at the high court premises but the security rushed to control the situation.