The death of Sheriff Dibba, the Secretary of the Gambia National Transport Control Association (GNTCA), should be ringing the alarm bell for the government.

Detention must have regard to the state of mental and physical wellbeing of detainees. Some people have serious health problems such as hypertension, diabetes and other complications requiring periodic management. Diet, drugs, ventilation, sunlight and many other factors do matter for detainees, particularly those with special needs.

It is important for the government to carry out a coroner’s inquest to find out the cause of death and conditions of detention before death so that that maximum effort would be made to improve on conditions of detention.

Magistrates and judges should also pay visits to police and prison cells, especially the remand wings, to find out where people are detained when they are denied bail. This will enable them to fully take into consideration the state of physical health of accused persons.

There is the need to come to terms that justice must be tempered with mercy if it is to be done and seen to be done.

No one can try a dead person in absentia. Hence to preserve life is the only way to enable the person to stand justice.