State to pay D10k for failure to file defence in AKI case

State to pay D10k for failure to file defence in AKI case

Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the High Court in Banjul, yesterday struck out the motion filed by the State seeking an extension of time to file a defence in a lawsuit against the Ministry of Health, Attorney General, Maiden Pharmaceuticals; Atlantic Pharmaceuticals and Medical Controls Agency.

Justice Jaiteh has also awarded a cost of ten thousand dalasis (D10, 000) to the plaintiffs.

The suit was brought in by presidents of the Gambia Bar Association (GAB), Female Lawyers Association and Loubna Farage – a private legal practitioner. The trio reportedly filed the suit on behalf of 19 plaintiffs representing family members who died from Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) following the consumption of a cough syrup manufactured by Maiden Pharmaceuticals.

When the case was called yesterday, L. Farage together with Y. Senghore and F. Sanyang announced their appearance for the plaintiffs, while the defendants were not present in the court.

Lawyer Loubna Farage informed the court that they received a motion of notice filed by the State on the 31st of July seeking an extension of time to file their defence. However, we were only served on the 11th of October 2023. “We have also filed an affidavit of opposition on the 19th of October 2023. However, we are so much disappointed today for the fact that after four months of the State being served, they have done nothing and on top of that they are not even in court today despite the last court adjournment in their favour.”      

“Therefore, we are applying for their motion of seeking time to be struck out with cost,” Lawyer Farage told the court.

“My lord we would ask that the motion be dismissed with cost because the 90 days is not automatic but it is maximum days and it has already elapsed.”

Meanwhile, in his ruling the presiding Judge Justice Ebrima Jaiteh said: “The defendants have not filed their defence and the 90 days has elapsed and they are not in court. On the last adjournment date, Counsels L.S. Jobarteh and A. Gibba and S. Jawara appeared for the State office and they are aware of today’s court proceedings but they chose to stay away from court.”

“On the 31st of July 2023, the State Law Office filed a motion of notice seeking for extension of time for the 3rd, 4th and 5th defendants to file their statements of defence and the plaintiff filed their affidavit of opposition.”

“The filing of the motion is almost three months now and the state has not filed any process to deem it properly filed. In that regard, the motion of notice is merely calculated to delay the proceedings otherwise the state would have filed processes in defending the suit.”

“The State is not ready in defending the suit and are also absent in court without any reason. Therefore, the court will not allow this motion to serve as an impediment to the hearing of this case. Accordingly, in the interest of justice, the motion filed by the state on the 31st of July 2023 is hereby struck out and the cost of ten thousands dalasis (10, 000) is awarded in favour of the plaintiffs and against the 3rd, 4th and 5th defendants.”           

The case was adjourned to the 7th of November at 2:30 p.m. for further mention.

Source: The Point

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