By Rohey Jadama
Principal Magisrate Hilary Abeke of the Kanifing Magistrates’ court
on Tuesday 23 May 2016 granted bail to Mrs. Lele Bojang, the 3rd
accused person in the trial of 6 women facing multiple charges.
They were granted bail in the
sum of 20,000
Mrs. Bojang and the other five co-defendants were charged with 7
counts of ’Conspiracy to commit felony’, ‘Unlawful assembly’, ‘Riot’,
‘Incitement of violence’, ‘Riotously interfering with vehicles,
‘Holding procession without a permit’, and ‘Disobeying an order to
disperse from an unlawful procession. The other defendants, namely
Isatou Saidy, 60 years old woman, Kaddy Samateh, a mother
breastfeeding a one month old baby, Sukai Dahaba, Fatou Sarr and Amie
Touray, were granted bail in an earlier proceeding during which the
third accused was rushed to the police clinic after she fell ill.
The other accused persons are represented by lawyers Anna Njie, Loubna
Farage, Haddy Dandeh Jabbie and Sagarr Jahateh, who are members of the
Female Lawyers Association of the Gambia (FLAG), while Lawyer Sheriff
Kumba Jobe appeared for the state.
When the case was called, the charges were read out to Madam Bojang
who pleaded not guilty to all the seven counts.
At this juncture, Lawyer Njie, the lead defence counsel, told the
court that she wished to apply for bail for the 3rd accused and is
relying on the submissions made on the 19 of May 2016 in the bail
application for the other five accused persons.
Barrister Njie further urged the court to apply its ruling on the 19
May, 2016 on the case of the other accused persons and in the same terms and conditions.
Responding to the defence, Lawyer Jobe said the defence
counsel failed to make a proper bail application for the 3rd accused
person and that the granting of bail is at the discretion of the
court. He added that in the exercise of such discretion the court must be
“The previous bail granted to the 1st, 2nd,
4th, 5th and 6th accused persons was premised on special
circumstances, however, today there is no special circumstance to put
before this court“, said the state counsel.
He continued “We would have considered whether to oppose the
application or otherwise if similar circumstances were advanced.”
The state counsel further submitted that in light of that they are
urging the court to do what is justice in the case and grant the 3rd
accused person bail provided that her defence counsel re provides
State counsel Jobe asked the court not to grant the 3rd accused person
bail on the same terms and conditions of the other accused persons but
to make her conditions stiff and that she should also be ordered to deposit her
travelling documents as a security to prevent her from jumping bail.
Replying on points of law, Lawyer Njie told the court that state
prosecutor has not given the court cogent reasons as to why the 3rd
accused person should be granted a stiff bail conditions.
“In the absence of any tangible evidence, it is my submission that it
should be disregarded. Section 99 of the Criminal Procedure Code has
given powers to this court to grant bail at its discretion and since
no cogent reason was given by the State as to why stiff conditions
should apply to the 3rd accused person, I urged this court to be
guided by sections 19 and 24 of the Constitution of the Gambia in
coming to a just decision,” she submitted.
In his ruling, Principal Magistrate Abeke said the state counsel did
not tell the court the distinguishing factor why the 3rd accused
person should be treated differently from the other accused persons.
He further said the accused persons are jointly charged for the same
offences and as such they shall be granted the same bail conditions.
Magistrate Abeke said in the light of the above, she is hereby
granting bail in the same terms and conditions of the other accused
persons that is in the sum of 20,000 with 0ne Gambian surety who must
swear to affidavit of means and surrender his/her travelling documents
to the Registrar of the court.
The case was adjourned to 6 June, 2016 at 1pm for hearing.