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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Gambia: Farafenni Armed Attack Case Set for Defence

Abdoulie Sonko, the last accused person facing three count charges of treason, in connection to the November 8th 1996, armed attack on the Farafenni Military Barracks, will soon open his defence before Justice Emmanuel Amadi of the High Court in Banjul.
This was revealed yesterday August 17 2010, by Lamin Camara, counsel for the accused. When case was mentioned, Lawyer Camara applied for the defence to be supplied with some of the exhibits and court report in the previous treason trial involving Ballo Kanteh alias Fabakary Kanteh & Co sometime in the year 1997.

According to the defence counsel, the said exhibits and report are important and will help the defence to open their defence with certainty. "My lord, we want to have access to the said documents to enable us to be sure before opening our defence. We want to be sure before we open our defence. We will soon open our defence after receiving these documents and our defence will be short. Our defence will not be long," Camara told the court in response to a question posed to him by the presiding judge, Justice Amadi, who asked as to when the defence will open their case.

The defence counsel then drew the court's attention to a concise history of the case, with reference to the 'no case to answer' submission made by the defence, and the reply made by the prosecution on the 28th of June 2008, and the subsequent striking out of the 'no case' submission on the 8th of September 2008.

Assurance made by the state counsel

The state counsel, M.B Abubacarr, who announced his representation for the state, assured the court and the defence counsel of his commitment to write a notice to the Registrar of the High Court about the submission of the defence counsel and the need to have them, so as to enable the case to proceed in the interest of justice. The judge after hearing from both sides, adjourned the case to the 25th of August 2010 for continuation.

It could be recalled that Abdoulie Sonko was charged with three criminal count charges of treason, contrary to the Laws of The Gambia. He first appeared before the then Magistrate Gaye Sowe at the Banjul Magistrates' Court on the 8th of August 2003 and the case was later transferred to the High Court, where five different judges including Justice Amadi have so far presided over the case.

The accused was charged under Section 35 (1) (a) and (d) of the Criminal Code, Cap 10, Volume 3 Laws of The Gambia.

The particulars of offence on count one stated amoung other things that the accused, Abdoulie Sonko, sometime on the 8th of November 1996, at Farafenni Military Barracks in the North Bank Region and diverse places in The Gambia, conspired with Ballo Kanteh alias Fabakary Kanteh, Omar Dampha alias Joof John, Sulayman Sarr, Essa Baldeh, Yahya Drammeh and others now at large, and unlawfully subjected the Farafenni Army Camp to an armed attack by land. Similar statements were made in both counts two and three.

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