By Nicholas Bass
The appellant counsel, on Wednesday, 19th July 2023, has taken an undertaking to serve the counsel of the respondent with the proceedings of the High Court before a panel of Judges at the Court of Appeal in Banjul.
When the case was called Counsel Moses Richars informed the court that David Gomez, deputy registrar of the Banjul High Court informed him of the ratified copy of the High Court proceeding.
He said the High Court proceeding of the case of Muhammed Camara versus Alhagie Abdoulie Bajaha in the land disputes at the Upper River Region was transmitted, noting that all the records were ratified, especially from pages 41-51 were ratified but pointed out that the respondent counsel was not served.
The panel of Judges chaired by Justice A Saho Ceesay ordered the counsel Richars to take an undertaking for the records of the proceedings of the High Court of his client to be served to the counsel of the respondent.
The panel granted counsel Richars twenty-eight (28) days to serve the respondent counsel and seven days were given to the counsel of the respondent (counsel Lamin Mboge) to file his response to the appellant’s counsel motion.
Meanwhile, the genesis of the land dispute between Muhammed Camara versus Alhagie Abdoulie Bajaha emanated from the decision of the Upper River Region Group Tribunal dated 17th June 2021 where the record of the proceedings was forwarded to the High Court at Banjul on the 31st January 2022 by the Governor the Upper River Region and the court (High Court) considered the said decision to be proper records of the Tribunal Court and the High Court referred to it in knowing what transpired at the Lower Court, Upper River Region Group Tribunal.
However, the judgment that was issued by Justice I. M. Sannehdated the 14th of November 2022 stated that the Upper River Region Tribunal erred in law when it failed to consider the appellant’s (Muhammed Camara )14 years of continuous and uninterrupted possession of the land in dispute by the appellant. And also that the Tribunal of U.R.R. erred in law when it failed to properly evaluate the evidence before it because the majority of the members of the Tribunal (U.R.R) are the so-called nobles and biased in their decision.
The verdict further highlighted major issues surrounding the said land dispute that includes: the appellant’s counsel submission that the tribunal failed to allow the appellant (applicant) to finish his testimony so that he can adequately defend himself which violates his rights to a fair hearing, citing Section 24 of the 1997 Constitution on the issue fair hearing.
The counsel of the appellant also emphasized that the payment of rates and taxes of the land to the Alkalo was a clear testimony of the appellant’s (Muhammed Camara ) ownership of land for 14 years after he built houses and lives with his family.
The judgment further revealed that the appellant’s (Muhammed Cammara) refusal to be called a slave is the reason the tribunal want to deprive him of land. He recalled that the appellant’s counsel submitted that the issue of slavery has played a role in the verdict issued against the appellant, Muhammed Camara at the Upper River Region Group Tribunal.