Tuesday, April 5, 2011

“I Was Known as ‘No Nonsense Judge” – Richards

A former High Court judge facing allegations of sedition and false information has on Friday told Banjul Magistrates’ Court that his diligence as an adjudicating officer earned him a name: ‘No Nonsense Judge.’
Moses Richards was reacting to a question posed to him by the director of Special Litigation, Daniel Kulo that he randomly arrested defense lawyers when he was a magistrate and then a judge.
Served 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’, Richards has made a name for himself as a no-non-sense adjudicating officer throughout his tenure at the bench. 
He was dismissed in April last year for reasons unexplained following which he started practicing as a private legal practitioner.
“I was very diligent. I was known as a nonsense Judge,” he said in response to Kulo’s question.
“You were so diligent that you bring your children to court while presiding over cases,” Kulo quizzed further, but Richards denied that.
He also denied instructing the arrests of barristers McCarthy, Chime and Omar Njie, and the Proprietor of Harry’s Supermarket. 
He however admitted ordering the arrest of numerous people who failed to appear in court.
D.H Kulo further accused the former High Court judge of abandoning D10, 000 on the desk of the director of public prosecution while his trial is on-going.
Kulo said the DPP reported the matter to the police, but Moses said he was not aware that he was reported until an officer came to his office and told him that he was needed at the police headquarters.
Richards said the allegation surprises him because he went to the DPP’s office to find-out about a client who was rearrested and sent to mile 2 after the Special Criminal Court discharged the client. 
Still under cross-examination, Moses said he was asked by the police to put in writing as to why he went to DDP’s office which he did. He added that he has no personal problem with the DPP.
When asked whether the DPP is mad or mentally ill, Moses replied: “Madness varies and I wouldn’t have known that. But I don’t think so.”
Kulo asked: “Have you retracted anything in the content of the letter that generated this trial?” Moses however said he hasn’t retracted anything. He added: “When the Sheriff wrote back to me with the accusation, I replied him informing him that he misinterprets my letter. And I further indicated [to him] in the letter that I as a Gambian, I am in a better condition to know the virtue of the president than him.”
 Kulo further put it to Richards that he was sued by his client Mr. Joof over a land transaction, but the court dismissed that question after the defense objected.
When asked whether he regretted writing that letter to the Sheriff, Richards noted that he has no cause to remorse.
“Since he has no remorse we will leave him now before he will tell more lies,” Kulo said.
The case resumes April 6.

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