By Rohey Jadama
Magistrate Kijera of Kanifing Magistrates’ Court yesterday 15th September 2015 granted bail to 6 former executives of the Gambia Scout Association in the sum of D700,000.
The charges range from “Conspiracy to commit felony”, “obtaining money by false pretence” and “stealing”. All accused persons denied culpability.
The accused persons are Ousman Y Jatta, Amat Sowe, Momodou Mendy, Essa Jarjusey, Adama Beyai and Maimuna Bah.
The Inspector General of Police was represented by Sergeant Colley, whilst Lawyer Edward Singhatey announced his representation for all the accused persons.
When the case was called, police prosecutor Colley applied for an adjournment and he further urged the court to maintain their earlier application of their bail objection pending the completion of their investigation.
Reacting to the application of the prosecution, Counsel Singhatey told the court that they are not objecting to the application for an adjournment made by the prosecution, but they have an application to make.
“I would like to apply for bail on behalf of all the accused persons, under section 99 of the Criminal Procedure Code Revised Laws of the Gambia 2009 and section 24(3) of the 1997 constitution which requires that the accused persons are given adequate time and facilities to prepared for their defence and that the accused persons should be presumed innocent until proven guilty”, submitted Lawyer Singhatey.
He further noted that the accused are remanded on offences which are all bailable. Regarding the prosecution’s claim that investigations are yet to be completed, he submitted that “incomplete investigation is not an adequate reason to deny the accused persons their liberty. The accused persons have suffered unconstitutional detention in the hands of the police before they were brought to court which the IGP is supposed to protect.”
The defence lawyer then urged the court to grant bail to all the accused persons since investigation is not yet completed and that only God knows when it will be completed. He urged the court to avert its mind to section 99 subsection (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code and take in to account that bail conditions should not be so excessive to deprive the accused persons from fulfilling them.
He submitted that the accused persons will not jump bail and that they will not interfere with witnesses as they did not know the list of witnesses. He said the accused persons are entitled to bail and he urged the court not to make the conditions so onerous.
Subsequently, the presiding magistrate ruled as follows: “Having carefully considered the defence counsel’s bail application, bail is granted to all the accused persons in the sum of D700,000 with one surety, who must submit a title deed to the registrar of the court. The accused persons should not interfere with witnesses”.
The case was then adjourned till Tuesday 22nd September, 2015.
At the time of going to press not all the accused were able to meet the condition of bail.