Lawyer Ousainou Darboe and nineteen others yesterday appeared at the Court of Appeal in Banjul, appealing against the bail ruling of Justice O. Ottaba of the Special Criminal Court.
The Court of Appeal is presided over by a three-member panel of judges headed by the president, Justice Edrissa Fafa M’bai.
Darboe and Co. were indicted on a seven-count charge of unlawful assembly, riot, and incitement of violence, riotously interfering with vehicles, holding a procession without a permit, and disobeying an order to disperse from an unlawful conspiracy.
The accused persons on the amended charge sheet are Ousainou Darboe, Kemeseng Jammeh, Femi Peters, Lamin Dibba, Lamin Jatta, Yaya Bah, Babucarr Camara, Fakebba Colley, Ismaila Ceesay, Momodou Fatty, Dodou Ceesay, Samba Kinteh, Mamudou Manneh, Nfamara Kuyateh, Fanta Darboe, Lamin Njie, Jukuna Suso, Momodou L.K. Sanneh, Yaya Jammeh and Masanneh Lalo Jawla.
When the case was announced, the state was represented by DPP S.H. Barkun and the defence team was led by Senior Counsel Gaye.
Senior Counsel Gaye then told the court that he wished to call upon lawyer Bensouda to address the court.
Addressing the court, Senior Counsel Bensouda craved the indulgence of the court for the appellants to be seated during the proceedings, which was granted by the court.
“The application before you is by way of a motion seeking a consolidation of 20 appeals seeking for interlocutory orders in which the appeal although several, arises from the same charges and ruling, and it is because they arise from the same ruling, and we are seeking to consolidate all the 20 in order to expedite the appeal,” she said.
She further told the court that she had consulted the DPP, and he said he have no objection to the consolidation of the appeal.
“I pray that same be granted as conferred by rule 35 of the rules of this court and make actions and orders as necessary.”
Responding to the application, the DPP told the court that he does not intend to oppose the application for the consolidation.
“In light of the application, and the fact that the state is not opposing, the application is hereby granted and the registrar of the court is ordered to consolidate the records,” ruled Justice M’bai.
The court gave three days to the defence team to file their briefs, and seven days to the DPP to respond to the appellant’s briefs.
One day was also given to the defence to reply on points of law.
The case was adjourned until 23 June 2016, for adoption of briefs.
It would be recalled that the appellants are challenging the ruling of Justice Ottaba of the Special Criminal Division of the Banjul High Court, who was the then presiding judge in the case before he declined further hearing of the matter.
Justice O. Ottaba, in denying the appellants bail, had said: “In view of the facts, circumstances, peculiarities, nature of the offence, severity of the punishment, and prima facie case against the accused persons, I therefore hold that this application lacks merit and hereby dismissed.”
Author: Halimatou Ceesay
Culled from www.thepoint.gm