Monday, March 14, 2011

Fired Judge’s Controversial Case Resumes Today

Sacked High Court Judge, who is now a private legal practitioner, is today expected to defend himself against the sedition and false information charges pressed against him by the state.
This development came as the state closed its case on Wednesday following the testimonies of two witnesses; Joseph Agbor Effim, the Sheriff of the High Court, and Ebrima Jatta, a drug enforcement officer.
Moses Richards is standing trial at Banjul Magistrates’ Court for allegedly falsely informing the Sheriff of The Gambia High Court that president Yahya Jammeh has ordered the stay of execution of the writ of possession in a particular civil suit.
When the trial resumed last Wednesday, the state witness no.2, in the person of Ebrima Jammeh, a National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA) officer told the court he was instructed to invite the accused to their office regarding the saga.
The cautionary statement Mr Jammeh said to have obtained from Moses Richards was tendered as evidence in court by the director of Special Litigation, Deniel O Kula.
Meanwhile, Richards had made a name for himself as a no-non-sense and straight forward adjudicating officer throughout his time as a magistrate in various parts of the country and as the first judge of the newly created Special Criminal Division of High Court, designed to ‘exclusively preside over capital offences.’
He was dismissed in April last year for unexplained reasons following which he started practicing as a private legal practitioner.   
His ‘unwarranted arrest’ on December 30, and prosecution has triggered controversy in the judiciary. Even the unspeaking Gambian bar is forced to speak-out and mounted a seemingly unproductive three-day sit-down strike demanding their colleague to be freed.  
“Legal practitioners in The Gambia, as is the case worldwide, are privileged and protected when acting in their professional capacity on behalf of their clients, for the obvious reason that it is in the public interest that Legal Practitioners are able to represent their clients properly, and discharge their duties without fear of being arrested and prosecuted for doing so,” Mr Sheriff Tambedou, president of Gambian bar had said.

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