It all started when High Court judge Justice Eunice O. Dada asked whether Lawyer Ousainou Darboe could defend himself and his detained colleagues since their entire legal team walked out of the court on Wednesday in protest against travesty of justice. She had earlier allowed the state to invite their first witness to testify, insisting to proceed with the case in the absence of Defense Lawyers. Justice Dada then wanted the prosecution witness one deputy inspector Musa Sanyang to be cross-examined.
She referred Mr. Darboe as a Defense Counsel but she got the answer she had not the least expected. “Don’t call me Counsel because I am here as the leader of my people,” Mr. Darboe opened his defiant address. He then watered down a subdued judge telling her that since the day of their arrest, both the state and the courts have been deliberately violating their constitutional rights. Mr. Darboe said Justice Dada was the last person to violate their rights. He said the judge’s flagrant violation of their rights is uncalled for. The judge was asked why he did not ask the defendants whether they would like to look for lawyers. The subdued judge buried her head for sometime and waited for Lawyer Darboe to nail the coffin. As a human rights of 43 years of experience, Mr. Darboe told the judge doing Dictator Jammeh’s bidding that he can pinpoint how the state and the judiciary have been conniving to betray justice as well as violating their rights.
Darboe said since the beginning of proceedings all their rights have been ignored. Unfortunately, the court as the last bastion of hope, joined the fray. “Even today our rights have been ignored by the sitting judge,” he said, querying as to why the sitting judge did not ask whether defendants could represent themselves or they wanted defense instead of imposing on them to defend themselves. “That is a violation of our rights,” Lawyer Darboe said. “Therefore, we will not participate in your court’s pre-arranged conviction.”
At this juncture, the prosecution asked the court to invite other defendants to cross-examine the prosecution witness. All of the 18 defendants, including eight UDP executive members, stood up but communicated with silence.
Justice Dada took sometime to write before she adjourned the case to Monday.
Families and supporters of the defendants who joined the legal to protest against miscarriage of justice, remained outside the courtroom.
It could be recalled that the first judge who presided over the politically motivated trial recused himself from the case after a media prank. Justice Otaba admitted being embarrassed by the case even though he had denied Darboe and others right to bail.