By: Ousman Saidykhan
Justice Jaiteh of the Banjul High court has rejected for lack of compelling reasons the adjournment application filed by the Prosecution on Thursday, 27th October 2022 to secure the presence of a Dakar-resident medical doctor, who, according to the Prosecution, would have been their final witness in the manslaughter trial involving Sainabou Mbaye and two others. Meanwhile, Defence has promised to file a motion of “no case to answer”, thereby seeking the acquittal of Sainabou and co without having to present a defence.
The medical doctor, who would have been the 8th Prosecution witness, is the one said to have conducted the autopsy on Baby Muhammed, a victim of the alleged manslaughter.
“I’m not persuaded and convinced by the submission of the Prosecution in seeking an adjournment. The reasons advanced are not compelling as the state had more than three months to use the machinery of the state via diplomatic channels to secure the attendance of the witness from Dakar, Senegal – cannot in my view, be justified to warrant counsel an adjournment.
“For this reason, I hereby resolve this issue in favour of the Defence that the Prosecution did not provide any compelling… and verifiable reasons to warrant this honourable court exercise its discretion to adjourn this matter,” Justice Jaiteh ruled.
The ruling of the judge followed the application and argument between the prosecution counsel A.M Yusuf and defence counsel C. Gaye regarding the adjournment application.
The prosecution counsel submitted that their witness is in Dakar and getting him to testify requires some bureaucracy, therefore, A.M Yusef urged the court to grant their application in the best interest of justice.
However, Defence counsel C. Gaye argued that the Prosecution’s reasons were not compelling as they did not detail the protocols the Prosecution took in securing the witness.
“We are vehemently opposed to any application for adjournment,” C. Gaye argued.
The rejection of the adjournment application meant the closure of the Prosecution’s case since the medical doctor was supposed to have been their last witness.
“Since the state is unable to secure a witness in court, the proper cause of action is to close the case of the Prosecution. The case of the Prosecution, I closed,” Justice Jaiteh said.
Meanwhile, the Defence has made known to the court that they would file a “no case to answer.” The Judge ordered that the service and all other protocols be done before the 17th of October 2022 when the case will resume for the adoption of the “No Case to Answer” submission.