Saturday, September 30

Legal Aid ordered to represent Sallah, Masireh in NIA 9 Case

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The High Court judge made this order as the two accused persons informed the court that they could provide a lawyer on their own.

Sallah and Masireh were beforehand represented by NALA until some weeks ago when Counsel Kebba Baldeh from NALA who announced withdrawal from the case. Lawyer Baldeh’s reason for withdrawal was his clients asked him not to represent them in the case anymore. He stated that his three clients told him this when he went to Mile II to engage them in an attempt to persuade them to come to court. Baldeh said his withdrawal in the case was as a result of the accused persons’ conduct by disrespecting the courts.

The withdrawal was accepted by the court, but in the latest development in the case, the judge has ordered NALA to provide representation to the two accused persons. According to Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara, the law provides that anyone tried with a capital offence should have a legal representation either by the person’s choice or through the Legal Aid Agency.

Baboucar Sallah said he could not afford to hire a lawyer of his choice since he has been in detention for four years without working. The judge informed him that NALA will represent him.

For Tamba Masireh, he said he did not have a lawyer of his own but does not need the services of NALA.

Tamba Masireh told the judge: “I don’t need a state lawyer.”

“You have to get a lawyer,” the judge replied to Masireh.

“But I don’t have a lawyer. I want to continue with my defence alone,” he said.

“You have to have a lawyer. That is what the law provides,” the judge told him.

“But I think I can continue with my defence,” Tamba insisted.

“Sit down,” the judge told him.

The judge then ordered the National Agency for Legal Aid to provide legal representation to the two.

Lamin Darboe, the 8th accused person was absent because he underwent an operation and currently at Mile II Clinic.

The other accused persons present were Yankuba Badjie, the former director general of NIA, Sheikh Omar Jeng alias Sir Jeng, the former deputy director of operations NIA, Haruna Suso and Lamin Lang Sanyang. They have been standing trial for 4 years on 25 criminal charges of murder, torture and conspiracy among others.

They all pleaded not guilty to the offence. The state called 33 witnesses who all testified in the case and tendered some exhibits. Two of the accused persons (Sheikh Omar Jeng and Baboucar Sallah) have already testified in defence, while the third (Tamba Masireh) is yet to conclude his testimony.

The case was adjourned to the 9th June 2021.