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State Charged 5 People, Excludes 5 Others In Alleged Coup Plotters’ Trial

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Alleged Coup Plotters arriving at Court

By Landing Ceesay 

The Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice (State) has charged 5 people and discharged another 5 in the alleged coup trial at the High Court of the Gambia

When the case was mentioned before Justice B. V. P Mahoney of the High Court, the lawyer representing the State, Counsel P. Gomez, informs the court that they filed an indictment on the 23rd of January 2023 and then proceeded to apply for a 15 minutes stand down to file additional amended information. 

“We have filed information yesterday but as of now, we are applying for a stand down as we are filing additional amended information,” P. Gomez said.

Justice Mahoney then asked the counsels for the accused persons whether they have any objection to the State Counsel’s application. To which the defence attorneys answer in the negative, prompting Justice Mahoney to grant the application and adjourned the case for 15 minutes. 

When the case resumed, after the 15 minutes stand down, AM Yusuf, the Counsel for the State informed the Court that they filed an amended indictment which superseded the initial charges against the accused persons at the subordinate court. He urged the Court to strike out the initial charges and retained the amended charges against the accused persons. 

The counsels for the accused persons confirmed to the court that they have been served with the amended version of the bill of indictment, and they have no objection to the strike out of the initial charges against their clients. 

Lawyer L.S. Camara, counsel representing accused persons Captain Ebrima Baldeh, Bara Touray, Bakary Njai, and Sanna Fadera, asked the Court to discharge his clients whose names are not on the amended bill of indictment. 

Counsel LS Camara said, after careful perusal of the amended bill of the indictment he did not see the names of Bakary Njai, Bara Touray, and Ebrima Baldeh and therefore urged the court to discharge them. In response, AM Yusuf, the lead State Counsel, told the court that he has no objection to the application and that those whose names are not listed on the amended bill of the indictment can go home freely. 

“They are not charged, so they can go home freely. As for their privileges and reinstatement, they will get it because there are no consequential orders,” AM Yusuf told the Court. 

Justice Mahoney then struck the initial charges from the subordinate court out and adopted the amended bill of indictment filed by the State. 

On a separate charge sheet, the state also filed a bill of indictment against Fabakary Jawara, a police officer, and excluded the two (2) civilians accused of being part of the alleged coup. 

At this point, LS Camara asked for the 2 civilians Mustapha Jabbi and Saikou Gassama to be discharged since they are not charged with any crime.  

Counsel for the state, AM Yusuf, didn’t object to the request for discharge, but instead agreed that   the 2 civilians can go home freely since they are not being indicted. Justice Mahoney then struck out the initial charges against the two civilians and the police officer and adopted the amended version, which indicted only the Police. 

Overall, the state indicted four (4) soldiers and one (1) Police Officer. While excluding three (3) soldiers and two (2) civilians. 

The soldiers indicted are Lance Corporal Sanna Fadera, Private Officer, Gibril Darboe, Corporal Ebrima Sanno, and Corporal Omar Njie. Fabakary Jawara is the only Police Officer indicted. 

Lawyers LS Camara and C Mendy represented the 1st and 5th accused persons. Lawyers Y. Darboe and A. Jarju represented the 2nd accused. While J. Jobarteh represented the 3rd accused person. 

However, Corporal Omar Njie, who is the 4th accused person, was not represented. He told the Court that he was not informed about getting a lawyer and would need at least a week to find a lawyer. 

Justice Mahoney said the case cannot proceed when one of the accused persons is not represented and adjourned the case to next week Thursday for mentioning and plea taking. 

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