Yankuba Darboe, Chairman Brikama Area Council
By Landing Ceesay
Yankuba Darboe, the Chairman of the Brikama Area Council (BAC), has lodged an appeal with the High Court of the Gambia, challenging the ruling made by Magistrate M. L. Thomasi regarding his “no case to answer” submission. Darboe contends that the court made legal and factual errors in its ruling.
“The Court erred in law and facts when it held that the no case to answer submission filed by the defence is solely based on the sedition. The court failed to avert its mind to the fact that there is only a sedition charge before the court after the amended charge by the prosecution.
“The court erred in law when it held that the evidence of the prosecution and its witnesses have indeed linked the accused to the alleged commission of the offence charged at a no case to answer submission. The court failed to avert its mind that it was not required to analyze the evidence of prosecution at a no case level,” Chairman Darboe stated in his appeal.
Chairman Darboe also contended that the Magistrate’s court made a critical error by considering extraneous information that was not supported by the evidence presented during the trial when assessing the “no case to answer” submission.
He further asserted that the Magistrates Court heavily relied on specific facts without conducting a comprehensive analysis of all the evidence presented at the “no case” stage.
In his appeal to the court, Chairman Yankuba Darboe maintained that the Magistrates Court’s ruling contradicts the overall weight of the evidence presented during the proceedings.
Additionally, Chairman Darboe argued that the Magistrates Court made legal and factual mistakes when asserting that the burden had shifted to him to present his defense since the witnesses had not been discredited during cross-examination.
He emphasized that the Magistrate Court failed to recognize that, at the “no case” stage, there is no requirement to assess the credibility of the witnesses.
“The Court was wrong in law in holding that the evidence before is found to be sufficient enough, upon which the court can rely on a conviction, thereby rendering the no case to answer submission nugatory. The Court failed to avert its mind to the fact that it is not required to make a conclusion or pronouncement on possible conviction at a no Case to answer level.
“The Court was wrong in holding the same individual did tender an apology to the Bar, Bench and the justice Delivery including the citizenry all sound and sundry at a case level,” he said.
Chairman Yankuba Darboe and his legal team want the High Court of the Gambia to make an order quashing the Ruling of the Magistrate Court delivered on the 17th of August 2023 by His Worship M.L. Thomasi in its entirety and uphold the no case to answer submission.
On March 9, 2021, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) initiated a criminal lawsuit against Yankuba Darboe, bringing forth two charges against him.
Background of the Case
The prosecution alleged that on February 10, 2021, Yankuba Darboe committed an offense by using disparaging language directed at both the President of the Gambia, Adama Barrow, and the Judiciary of the Gambia.
On September 28, 2022, after the prosecution closed its case, Chairman Yankuba Darboe’s legal team informed the court that they intended to file a no-case-to-answer submission. The court ordered that a formal application be filed and adjourned the matter to October 18, 2022, for the adoption of briefs on the no-case-to-answer submission.
On October 10, 2022, Chairman Yankuba Darboe and his legal team filed their no-case-to-answer submission in respect of the two counts charged. The submission was served on the prosecution.
The prosecution filed its reply to the no-case-to-answer submission on October 25, 2022. Chairman Yankuba Darboe and his legal team filed a reply on points of law against the prosecution’s brief.
After nearly three years since the charges were filed, the court ruled on August 17, 2023, that Chairman Yankuba Darboe must present his defense, overturning his application for a no-case-to-answer.
On August 31, 2023, Chairman Yankuba Darboe appeared in court to commence his defense, but the case could not proceed. Many political and social commentators characterized the case’s revival as a politically motivated pursuit against him.
Chairman Yankuba Darboe and his legal team have lodged an appeal with the High Court of the Gambia, contesting Magistrate M. L. Thomasi’s ruling on his no case to answer submission.
The case has been adjourned, and a ruling on the motion filed by Chairman Yankuba Darboe and his legal team is scheduled for September 25, 2023.