By Yankuba Jallow
Justice Aminata Saho-Ceesay of the Banjul High has on Tuesday, 16th April, granted bail to Yankuba Touray and Fatoumata Jahumpa Ceesay.
The two accused persons (defendants) were arraigned before the high court on counts of conspiracy to commit felony contrary to section 368 of the Criminal Code and interference with potential TRRC witness or informant contrary to section 36A of TRRC Act.
Both Touray and Jahumpa pleaded not guilty to all counts as alleged. The charges are the same charges as those that were preferred on the defendants at the lower court where they were discharged by the magistrate. After the court discharged them, the police rearrested them and the exact charges were reinstated but this time before the High Court.
The defence lawyers Lamin S. Camara and Abdoulie Sisoho both made an application for bail for their clients. They relied on section 24 of the Constitution and section 99 of the Criminal Procedure Code, adding the accused persons are not likely to jump bail. The senior lawyers argued the charges are bailable and beseeched the court to exercise its discretion and grant the defendants bail.
Senior Lawyer Sisoho told the court that Honourable Touray is a farmer and travels throughout the country. He urged the court to make an order that Touray can move throughout the country without any interference or resistance from any person or authority.
“My client should have the liberty to travel within the country at any time without restriction both day and night,” Sisoho submitted.
The State Counsel, AN Yusuf told the court that he has no objection to the bail application, however, he enjoined the court to exercise its discretion in granting of bail, adding it should make sure that it attaches conditions that are just and would guarantee the appearance of the defendants.
In her ruling, the trial Judge upheld the bail application and ordered as follows; bail sum of one million dalasis or landed property worth of that sum, deposit of original title deed of that landed property, two Gambian sureties who shall both deposit original of their national identity card or passport.
She further made a declaration that Yankuba Touray and Fatoumata Jahumpa Ceesay are allowed to move freely within the jurisdiction of the court.
The matter was adjourned to the 8th and 9th May from 12 noon to 1 pm, and 16th and 20th from 10 am to 11 am for the prosecution to open their case.
The matter started at the Kanifing Magistrates Court on 16th March 2019. Touray who held the portfolio of Minister of Local Government and Lands in both the AFPRC and APRC governments, was a member of the defunct AFPRC military junta. Jahumpa Ceesay is an ex-Speaker of the National Assembly of The Gambia.