Mrs Sainabou Wadda-Ceesay, Sagar Cesilia-Jahateh and Kumba Sillah-Camara, were last Wednesday sworn as Magistrates, by Chief Justice, Abdou Karim Savage, at a ceremony held in the Office of the Chief Justice, Banjul. The three female Lawyers were private legal practitioners, prior to their appointment and were members of the Gambia Bar Association. They have all sworn that they will execute their functions without fear or favour, affection or ill will.
Ms Marie Saine-Firdause, Attorney- General and Secretary of State for Justice, speaking at the occasion, paid tribute to the new appointed Magistrates over what she described as “their total sense of sacrifice towards achieving a better justice delivery system in The Gambia”.
“I have no doubt that all the newly appointed Magistrates are indeed fit and competent to serve in the magistracy. I work with each of you as a Prosecutor when you were Defence Counsel. The path you have taken is a honourable one and require each and everyone of you to execute your responsibilities with dedication, commitment and diligence, without fear or favour, affection or ill will to the best of your ability,” she said.
The Justice Minister described the role of Magistrates as very important in The Gambia. “This could be seen in the volume of cases adjudicated at that level. The expansion of civil and criminal jurisdictions of Magistrates Court made their task more challenging, but all these are in line with the government’s policy to ensure a wider access to justice and for the administration in a timely manner by virtue of their summary proceedings,” she added.
She assured her office continuous support to work closely with the Judiciary in ensuring a better and more efficient administration of justice.
Chief Justice, Abdou Karim Savage, described the occasion as very significant, saying it is not usual in this country (The Gambia) for legal practitioners to become Magistrates. This made the occasion a welcome development in the annals of history of the Judiciary. “We are hoping that today’s ceremony will usher in a new era, the era of indigenisation,” he said.
The Chief Justice then charged the new appointed Magistrates to adhere to the oath, to do justice to all without fear or favour, affection or ill will.
Amie Bensouda, President of the Gambia Bar Association expressed deeper sense of gratitude to the new Magistrates for moving from the Bar to the bench. She described the move as very important and historic in the legal profession of the country and urged them to perform their functions in accordance with the law.
Mrs Bensouda assured them of the Gambia Bar Association’s continuous support and willingness to work closely with them at all times.
Magistrate Sainabou Wadda-Ceesay, delivered the vote of thanks, on behalf of her newly sworn colleagues.