Thursday, March 17, 2011

Moses Richards’ Lawyer Overruled Five Times

The trial magistrate in the criminal trial involving Moses Richards who is charged with false information and sedition has yesterday overruled five questions posed to Richards by his lawyer.
A former High Court Judge, Moses Richards is alleged to have brought contempt in the person of president Jammeh when he allegedly gave false information to the sheriff of High Court, but he pleaded not guilty.
“Did you mention in the last paragraph that the president ordered anything?” the doyen lawyer, Suraha Janneh asked Richards, but the prosecution objected the admissibility of the question and the magistrate concurred.
“And do you in your knowledge know if there is any difference between His Excellency, the President and the Office of the President?” lawyer Jammeh quizzed, but the Director of Special Litigation, Daniel Kulo objected to this question as well and the magistrate upheld the objection.
Kulo said the defense was leading the accused and it was an opinion, but lawyer Janneh argued that his knowledge and opinion is quite different.
The magistrate intervened and asked the defense:  “Can you give opinion without knowledge”.
The defense in response said, “This is not an academic exercise, but a criminal matter”.
The presiding magistrate also disallowed the accused to answer if he has any intent to bring into contempt of the President. He told the defense that the document is already admitted as evidence and should be left with the court to evaluate.
The defense lawyer however, stated that it is a charge which his client has to deny. He said his client is accused of mentioning that the President of the Republic ordered a stay of execution of a writ of possession in a civil suit.
And the state counsel also said there is no better denial than the accused person’s plea.
“I don’t mind if we are overruled, but in order to prove our case we had to give evidence”, Janneh countered.
Continuing his evidence, the accused said he never had contempt or hatred for the president.
He said he called Pa Colley, the alkalo of Jabang into his office to clarify whether the information was correct before he dispatched the letter to the Attorney General, Chief Justice, Minister of Lands and Director of NIA.
“I took briefs, because he informed me that if the execution was attempted there was going to be a calamity,” Moses said.
“Pa Colley then made a telephone call to a gentleman who introduced himself as the director of Physical Planning”.
He said the director assured him that what the Alkalo told him was the truth.
Moses said he wrote the letter under his client’s instruction and signed it as a firm solicitor.
He said the suit number indicates that the case started in 1992 which he never took part as a lawyer and was never aware of.
Richards said he was reliably informed by the alkalo that the case was between the Bojangs of Sukuta and the Colleys in Jabang.
The case continues today.

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