The Kanfenda arrestees were granted bail yesterday by Principal Magistrate Omar Cham of the Brikama Magistrates’ Court. This criminal proceeding was well attended by APRC party supporters as well as the relatives and sympathizers of the accused persons. The bail conditions indicate that a surety must tender his or her Gambian National Identity Card and who shall pay a fine of D25,000 in case of breach of bail. When the matter was ruled for bail, relatives and sympathisers were joyful for reuniting with their loved ones who were remanded in custody.
The accused persons are Banna Kujabi, Sunkau Bojang, Aminata Bojang, Amie Saidy, Hawa Manga, Sohna Bojang, Hawa Badjie, Mai Dampha, Yamundow Manga, Nyara Yanga, Rabiatu Bojang, Mai Daffeh, Mai Gibba, Sunkau Wodeh, Wudeh Bojang, Fatoumatta Sidibeh, Sarjor Daffeh, Lamin Manga, Lala Saidy, Sireh Jatta, Sainey Camara, Mai Manneh Sulayman Manga, Madiba Manga and Sira Bojang.
When the case was called, Inspectors S. Sanyang and Gibba and Sergeant Jaiteh all announced their appearance for the Inspector General of Police whilst Ibrahim Jallow represented all the accused persons. Speaking to the Court, Inspector Sanyang said they filed an amendment before the court which was served to the defence counsel dated February 28, 2017.
He told the court that they relied on Section 169 of the Criminal Procedure Code to omit the name of Mai Manneh (the 22nd accused person), because she has not been coming to court since the beginning of the trial. He added that they are doing that for the purpose of justice. Since there was no objection from the defence counsel, the trail Magistrate Omar Cham accepted the amendment and requested for all the accused persons to take their pleas. They all took their plea saying either ‘It has not happened’ or “we deny the charges’ which the court regarded as a plea of not guilty.
Counsel Jallow told the court that they have a motion of notice filed on February 22, 2017, and the said application is in respect of bail to the accused persons relying on sections 99 and 100 of the Criminal Procedure Code and section 19(5) of the Constitution of The Gambia. He said he was reliably informed by the prosecution that they have finished their investigations and with that the accused persons cannot interfere with police investigations since they are done with it. He added that since the charge is a misdemeanor, the accused persons can be granted bail. He further submitted that some of the accused persons are students whilst some are mothers and breadwinners of their families. In his final submission, he said there is no record that the accused persons have ever committed an offence and he assured the court that if granted bail, they will not be involved in crimes or unlawful acts during the course of their bails. Inspector S. Sanyang said bail is at the discretion of the court and he urged the court to exercise its discretion judicially and judiciously.
Principal Magistrate Omar Cham in his ruling said the offence is bailable. He exercised his discretion by saying he would have granted them bail the first day they appeared in court but the accused persons refused to talk because they do not have a counsel to represent them. He added that the second day they appeared in court he could have given them bail but did not do so due to the fact that the counsel does not have proper briefing from the accused persons.
He finally granted them bail by relying on Section 24 of the 1997 Constitution of The Gambia.
They are charged with prohibition of conduct conducive to the breach of the peace contrary to section 9 of the Public Order Act.
According to the particulars of offence, on or about the February 19, 2017, at Kanfenda Check Point, in the Foni District, West Coast Region, the defendants used abusive or insulting words to Lulu Sanyang and some others when they were going back to their respective destinations from the Independence Celebrations and the inauguration of new President, Adama Barrow.