By Rohey Jadama
The 18 people arrested at the Westfield junction for allegedly taking part in a demonstration demanding for electoral reform on Thursday, 14th April, have yesterday applied for bail before Justice O. Ottaba of the Banjul High Court.
The accused persons are Lamin Sonko, Bubacarr Gitteh, Baba Ceesay, Modou Touray, Ebrima Janko Ceesay, Lamin Camara, Alhagie Jammeh, Lansana Beyai, Lamin Jatta, Lamin Marong, Ebrima Jadama, Pa Ousman Njie, Kekuta Yabo, Bubacarr Jah, Muhammed Jawneh, Bubacarr Touray, Saderr Secka and Alhagie Fatty.
They are indicted with ‘Unlawful assembly’, ‘Riot’, ‘Incitement of violence’, ‘Riotously interfering with vehicles’, ‘Holding a procession without a permit’ and ‘Disobeying an order to disperse from an unlawful procession’.
When the case was called, lawyer Antouman Gaye and a team of lawyers announced their representation for all the accused persons, whilst Hadi Saleh Barkun, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), and a team of State counsels appeared for the prosecution.
At this juncture, the DPP informed the court that the matter is slated for bail hearing. He acknowledged receipt of the defence’s bail application and further told the court that they are in the process of filling their affidavit of opposition.
However, DPP Barkun applied for the matter to be stood down for 1 hour for him to complete the filling process and serve the defence team. Without any objection from the defence counsels, the application was granted by the court.
Upon resumption, the DPP told the court that he has not received the bail application of 4 accused persons.
Responding to the DPP, Lawyer Gaye told the court that they have just filed it. However, the court clerk said that she has not received the remaining four bail applications, adding that she only received the DPP’s affidavit of opposition.
The defence team told the court that they needed 12 hours to reply on points of law while the DPP requested for more than 24 hours to file an affidavit of opposition.
Subsequently, the trial judge adjourned the case till Wednesday 4 May at 12 noon for adoption of briefs.
It was observed that the accused persons, jointly handcuffed in pairs, were escorted to the court under tight security.