By Kebba Jeffang
The Bundung magistrates’ court on Monday, 30th May, granted bail to three accused persons charged with seditious intention and incitement of violence.
The three accused persons were each granted bail in the sum of fifty-thousand dalasis (D50, 000).
The three accused persons namely Ebrima Keita, Musa Fofana and Alasana Jallow have all denied the allegations during their pleas.
In delivering the ruling on bail application, the trial magistrate said the accused persons are charged with bailable offences and that their continuous detention will violate their constitutional right.
He said the defence in its application submitted that the charges are bailable offences and that he has seen no reason why granting the accused persons bail will affect the investigation, while laying emphasis on the right to bail for the accused persons.
The trial magistrate said on the other hand, the prosecution in opposing bail, submitted that in pursuance of section 99 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), it is not a mandate for the court to give bail even though the offence is bailable. He said the prosecution indicated that it is left to the discretion of the court noting that the defence did not provide enough reasons and therefore urged the court to disregard the application.
However, the trial magistrate said “the accused persons have been under detention until their arraignment on the 24th May. If the accused persons are still detained by the police, it could be seen that investigations are still ongoing which should make them to speedily move on.”
He continued “However, the time of detention is long and the prosecution could have concluded the investigation, even if the investigations were ongoing, they will not tamper with the case.”
The trial magistrate said section 24 of the 1997 Constitution of the Gambia provided for right to bail. He said the accused persons are private people who have not caused any economic loss to the country and they are not charged with economic offences which may complicate their bail application.
“This court therefore grants the accused persons bail with the following three conditions attached: each of the accused persons is granted bail but must fulfill the deposit of D50.000.00; each should provide two sureties whose identification documents will be surrendered to the registrar of court. Finally, the accused persons are prohibited to take part in any other demonstration but to remain in their communities pending the outcome of the case,” ruled the magistrate.
The matter at this juncture was adjourned to 13 June at 10am for the first prosecution witness to testify.
According to the indictment sheet, the 3 accused persons are charged with seditious intention contrary to section 51(a) of the Criminal Code Cap 10:01 Vol. 3 laws of the Gambia 2009.
The particulars of offence states that Ebrima Keita, Musa Fofana and Alasana Jallow on or about 11 day of May 2016 at Sukuta, Kombo North, West Coast Region, republic of the Gambia, have uttered a statement stating that ‘the country, The Gambia is at a boiling point, that the government kidnapped Solo Sandeng in order to threaten the general public; that the President never likes the Mandinkas, a statement meant to cause dissatisfaction and hatred against the person of the President of the Gambia and thereby committed an offence.
On the second count, the accused persons are charged with incitement of violence contrary to section 59 (b) of Criminal Code, Volume 3, Cap 10:01 laws of the Gambia 2009.
The particulars of offence states that the same persons, at the same time and place, assemble and uttered the following statement that all opposition sympathisers should join and make a big demonstration so that the security forces cannot control the situation, the statement they know can incite violence and thereby committed an offence.