Taranga Fm Manager Denied Bail, Faces More Charges

By Rohey Jadama
Alagie Abdoulie Ceesay, the Managing Director of Taranga FM Radio, was denied bail by  Justice Alhaji Abdoulie Ceesay, Manager Teranga FMSimeon Ateh  Abi  of the Banjul High Court yesterday, 19th August, 2015. She was also indicted by the prosecution with six more charges of ‘Sedition’ and ‘Publication of false news’.
Delivering his ruling, Justice Abi said one of the cardinal considerations in application for bail is the nature of the charges and the severity of the punishment in the event that the applicant is convicted. He added that counts 1 and 2 are brought under section 52(2) of the Criminal Code, which carries a punishment of a minimum fine of D50,000 and maximum of D250, 000 or imprisonment for not less than one year, or both the fine and imprisonment and that a conviction on counts 3,4,5, and 6 carries a punishment similar to counts 1 and 2, whereas the conviction on count 7 attracts a punishment of 2 years imprisonment.
“I agreed with the DPP that the seriousness of the offences alleged can be a ground for exercising discretion against the granting of bail. In view of the above, coupled with the undertaking of the  DPP to expeditiously proceed with the hearing of the case against the applicant, I cannot at this stage exercise my discretion in favour of granting bail to the applicant,” ruled Justice Abi.
The presiding judge continued “I will accordingly refuse the applicant bail at this stage, direct that he remains in prison custody and order that the Director of Public Prosecution proceeds with the case against the applicant expeditiously.”
Justice Abi, however, added that the refusal to grant bail to the applicant in this instance is tied to the state’s position that they are ready and willing to proceed with the case. He said he will take cognisance of the fact that the applicant should not remain in custody indeterminately without the assurance of his being released on bail should the state fail to proceed with the trial as stated.
“Accordingly, I hereby additionally order that if the state fails to arraign the applicant within 7 days of this order, and in any event, not later than Wednesday, 26th August 2015, the applicant may re-present his application for bail for consideration,” ruled Justice Abi.
Meanwhile, the office of the DPP has indicted Mr. Ceesay on 6 counts of ‘Sedition’ and 1 count of ‘Publication of false news.
The statement of offence on count one is Sedition. It states in the particulars of offence that Abdoulie Ceesay, on or about the 17th day of July 2015, at Sinchu  Alagie village and other diverse places, with intent to excite disaffection against President  Yahya Jammeh and the government of the Gambia acted with the same seditious intention by publishing and distributing pictures of a gun and five bullets pointing towards the president.
Count two alleges that Ceesay with intent to excite disaffection against President Jammeh, published and distributed a seditious phrase wit: “The sniper is hereby advices all citizens and non citizens to stay at their homes on Wednesday the 22nd July, 2015. As our struggle to kick of the dog, begins that very day. We are capable of doing anything and it might start from the celebration ground. Please be at your homes for your safety”. Signed by the sniper 3, secretary to the group’.
Count three alleges that Ceesay with intent to excite disaffection against President Jammeh published pictures of a gun and five bullets pointing towards the president’s image.
Count four alleges that Ceesay publishes a seditious phrase to wit: “The sniper is hereby advices all citizens and non citizens to stay at their homes on Wednesday the 22nd July, 2015. As our struggle to kick of the dog, begins that very day. We are capable of doing anything and it might start from the celebration ground. Please be at your homes for your safety”. Signed by the sniper 3, secretary to the group”.
Count five states that Ceesay distributed pictures of a gun and five bullets pointing towards the image of President Jammeh.
As for count six, the prosecution alleges that Ceesay distributed a seditious phrase to wit: “The sniper is hereby advices all citizens and non citizens to stay at their homes on Wednesday the 22nd July, 2015. As our struggle to kick of the dog, begins that very day. We are capable of doing anything and it might start from the celebration ground. Please be at your homes for your safety”. Signed by the sniper 3, secretary to the group”.
On count seven, it is alleged that Ceesay with intent to cause fear and alarm to the public or to disturb the public peace, published a seditions statement to wit: “The sniper is hereby advices all citizens and non citizens to stay at their homes on Wednesday the 22nd July, 2015. As our struggle to kick of the dog, begins that very day. We are capable of doing anything and it might start from the celebration ground. Please be at your homes for your safety”. Signed by the sniper 3, secretary to the group.’