“People’s liberties are at stake” Says Lawyer Gaye in 18 Westfield Protesters case

By Rohey Jadama

Lawyer Antouman Gaye, the leading defence counsel for the 18 Westfield protestors, urged the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to understand the need for the urgency of an oral application as the liberty of his clients is at stake.

Announcing their representation at the special Criminal Division of the Banjul High before Justice O. Ottaba, the state was represented by the DPP Hadi Saleh Barkun and others while a team led by Lawyer Antouman Gaye appeared for the 18 accused persons.

The application that was made by the defence team on the oral application for bail was overruled by the trial judge on Monday, April 25, 2016.

In his ruling, the judge recalled that on the 21 April, the case came up and that Lawyer Amie Bensouda applied for bail for the accused persons orally. He said the DPP argued that in the interest of justice, the bail should be brought formally and that the oral application should be overruled.

The judge noted that the court has the discretion to grant bail depending on the circumstances of the case. Accordingly, he ordered the accused persons to file a written bail application instead of an oral application.

At this juncture, Lawyer Gaye told the court that subject to the convenience of the court’s diary, they were suggesting for the matter to be adjourned to Wednesday 27 April, 2016 for bail application.

However, the DPP disagreed to that arguing that the bail hearing has been dealt with because there is no formal bail application.

In his response, Lawyer Gaye said “my learned friend should realize that this is a criminal case and that people’s liberties are at stake. We are dealing with bail in both cases not hearing.”

The trial judge subsequently adjourned the case to Wednesday, 27 April, 2016 for hearing at 10:30 am.