In Mam Sait / Malick Jones Trial

Friday, September 28, 2007

— Court Orders Stay of Jurisdiction

The Banjul Magistrates’ Court, presided over by Magistrate B.Y. Camara, yesterday made a ruling for stay of jurisdiction in the matter involving Mam Sait Ceesay, Press Officer State House, and Malick Jones, Principal Producer at Gambia Radio and Television Services. The ruling followed a submission by the defence counsel, Antuman Gaye, for his client to be discharged on the grounds that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

On the particulars of offence, Lawyer Gaye argued that the matter could not proceed because of the section under which the two were charged, adding that unless otherwise the case could not proceed. He further argued that unless the court is satisfied with the condition required by the Official Secrets Act, then the court lacked the jurisdiction to hear the case. He said the Attorney-General’s consent was not before the court and that the prosecution could not proceed with the matter. He quoted section 11 of the same Act for the accused persons to be discharged.

In his response to the defence counsel’s submission, police prosecutor Cadet Inspector Keita submitted that the wording of the charge as per the particulars of offence on the charge sheet was clear: that on a particular date and in the city of Banjul the accused communicated or gave information to foreign journalists. He submitted that the defence counsel did not furnish the court with the reason why the court lacked jurisdiction to proceed.

Cadet Inspector Keita further submitted that the accused persons were arrested, charged and put before the competent court of jurisdiction. He said the prosecution is yet to lead evidence and that the case file had been sent to the Attorney-General’s chambers for legal opinion. He countered that even though the prosecution is yet to satisfy certain conditions of section 11 of the Official Secrets Act, those requirements do not give grounds for the accused persons to be discharged.

Magistrate B.Y. Camara at length ruled for a stay of jurisdiction. Hearing continues.

Author: By M. Sanyang & B. Samateh
Source: The Point