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Coup Trial Adjourned As Prosecution Wants “Undercover Agent” To Testify In Camera 

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Alleged Coup plotters arriving in Court

By Landing Ceesay 

The trial of the alleged coup plotters has been adjourned to Tuesday 14th March 2023, as the prosecution would like for an “undercover security agent” to testify in camera. 

The Deputy Director of Prosecution A.M. Yusuf appearing for the State (Prosecution) informed the court that their witness is ready to give testimony, but his undercover security work for decades will necessitate his testimony be held in camera to safeguard his personal safety.

“My lord, we are applying for the witness to testify in camera. Since the witness is an undercover security agent, we would like him to give his testimony in camera. Bringing him in the public for him to testify would endanger his safety. The said witness has been undercover for over a decade. So, bringing him in the court here to testify would pose a threat to his safety and national security,” Counsel Yusuf told the court. 

In response to counsel Yusuf’s submission, Lawyer LS Camara, representing the 1st and 5th accused persons, told the court that they (the defense) do not know who the said witness is to enable them to object to it. 

“My lord, at the moment the prosecution has not served us any particulars about whom the witness is to put us at a better stage whether to object or not. Because we have gone through the list of the witnesses filed by the prosecution, but we could not find any of these witnesses, my learned counsel has mentioned here. If we know exactly who the witness is, we should be able to cooperate. But at the moment the reasons advanced by the prosecution do not warrant the witness to be in camera,” Counsel LS Camara told the court. 

The other defense counsels aligned themselves with the submission of Counsel LS Camara, lawyer for the 1st and 5th accused persons. 

Justice Mahoney then requested to have a meeting with both the prosecution and defense counsels in chambers, which was accepted by both counsels. 

Shortly after the meeting in chambers, Justice Mahoney ordered the prosecution to make a formal application to have their witness testify in camera.

“The Application for the next witness to be examined in Camera is to be made formal. The state is to file its application on or before Wednesday 15th March 2023 and serve the Defence as soon as possible. The Defence shall then file any affidavit in respect of the application on or before Friday 17th March 2023 and serve same on the state as soon as possible thereafter. 

“The State may then file any affidavit in reply on or before Tuesday 21st March by 12 noon. For the avoidance of doubt, the case is to proceed with other prosecution witnesses whilst the application to hear the witness in chambers is determined,” Justice Mahoney made the order before adjourning the case to Tuesday 14th March 2023 for continuation. 

Sanna Fadera (the 1st accused) and 3 other soldiers of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) and a Police Officer from the Gambia Police Force (GPF) is accused of an attempted Coup and have been charged with five counts, including treason. 

The defendants standing trial are Lance Corporal Sanna Fadera (1st accused) Private Officer, Gibril Darboe (2nd accused) Corporal Ebrima Sannoh (3rd accused), and Corporal Omar Njie (4th accused), Fabakary Jawara (5th accused) who is the Police Officer charged alongside the Soldiers. 

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