By Kebba Jeffang
Lawyer Ousainou Darboe and 18 other members of the United Democratic Party (UDP) continued to be remanded at the state central prison at Mile 2 due to the irregularities in the bail application process started by the lawyers for the applicants at the proceedings at the Banjul high court on Thursday, April 21, 2016 presided over by Justice O. Ottaba.
Senior Counsel Antouman Gaye, on behalf of the of lawyers and families of the applicants, also applied to the court for the counsels and loved ones to be given access to them and for their clients not to be kept in solitary confinement.
When the matter was called, DPP Saleh H. Barkun and other state counsels appeared for the state whilst lawyer Gaye and other lawyers represented the 19 accused persons.
At this stage, the court clerk read out the names of the bail applicants who are seated in the court room. In the process, it was observed that some people whose names were called were not in court, while some were present in court but their names were not called out. The clerk was reading from the bail application document filed by the applicants’ lawyers.
Meanwhile, Mr. Gaye then informed the court that they (applicants lawyers) need to regularize their process. He said the DPP is in a better position to tell the court about the missing names and persons because all of them are in the custody of the State.
The DPP in response said he knows nothing about the application, adding that it is the lawyers of the applicants who are in a better position to explain. He said the only thing he knows about is that a charge has been filed against 36 accused persons.
Lawyer Gaye told the court that under the circumstances, he is applying for an adjournment to enable them to regularise the processes and come back on Monday, 25 April, 2016.
In his response, the DPP said he cannot say anything for now until this regularisation is done and that he has no objection for the case to be heard on Monday.
Lawyer Gaye also informed the court that they (lawyers of the applicants) have been denied access to see their clients as well as the family members who are equally facing the same challenges. He said some of the detained persons are in a state that requires medical attention. He argued that since they are remanded, they have the right to food and drugs. He also said that some of their clients are kept in solitary confinement instead of the remand wing of the Mile 2 prison.
Responding to the concerns raised by the applicants, DPP Barkun said he will make findings on the issue of keeping the arrested persons in solitary confinement. He said he cannot confirm that as yet but promised to find out and confirm from the prison authorities.
In his ruling on the issues raised, the trial judge granted the application for the defence to regularise their processes. He also ruled that the counsels should be allowed access to their clients in Mile 2 prison and that the detained persons should not be kept in solitary confinement but in the remand wing.
The matter was adjourned to Monday, 25th April, 2016.