Another Economic crime suspect gets court bail

Friday, May 18, 2018

Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of High Court in Banjul on Tuesday, May 15th granted bail to one Omar Mbye in the sum of five hundred thousand dalasi (D 500.000.00) with one Gambian surety in like sum.

In his ruling, the presiding Judge disclosed that the applicant by an originating summons dated and filed on the 10th day of May 2018, prays that he be released from custody upon entering into recognizance with or without sureties condition for his appearance before any Court where any charge(s) preferred against him will be heard or in the alternative and any further order the said court deems fit to make.

Justice Jaiteh further disclosed that the motion was supported by a 21-paragraph affidavit deposed and sworn to by one Aminata Fatty of Latrikunda in the Kanifing Municipality on the 10th day of May 2018 with exhibit marked “OM1” which is the charged sheet from Banjul Magistrates’ Court.

Justice Jaiteh stated that the State law office was served with the Originating Summons in respect of the bail application but did not file any affidavit in opposition, as they were not opposed to the granting of bail to the Applicant. 

He cited the case of Banna versus Ocean View Resort Ltd [2002 -2008]1 Gambia Law Report which held that unchallenged or uncontroverted evidence whether viva voce or affidavit evidence the court has no choice than to regard it as establishing the facts alleged.

Justice Jaiteh asserted that by Section 99(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code, the said court is vested with power and discretion to grant bail in offences, which do not carry the death penalty or life imprisonment.

He further asserted that the offence shown in Exhibit “OM1” are bail able in line with that section of the Criminal Procedure Code, since none of them is punishable with death or life imprisonment.

Justice Jaiteh disclosed that the law is explicit that the matters to be taken into consideration on whether or not to grant bail include but are not limited to the following: the nature of the charge, the severity of the punishment, the quality of the evidence available, likelihood of the accused jumping bail or interfering with witnesses, the criminal record of the accused if any and the likelihood of a repetition of the offence if granted bail.

He said the court’s discretion in granting or refusing bail must at all times be exercised with due regards to the facts and circumstances of each case and having regards to the averments in the affidavit in support of the application.

He further said the applicant indicated in paragraphs 11, 14, and 16 of the affidavit in support that he will not interfere with witnesses and will not jump bail if released; that he has people ready and willing to stand surety for him.

Justice Jaiteh pointed out that the respondent also conceded that the offence alleged are bail able and do not see any reason to oppose bail. He cited that Section 24(3) (a) of the 1997 Constitution of The Gambia which presumes the innocence of the applicant until proven guilty, which presumption shall inure to the applicant’s benefit.

The applicant was accordingly granted bail in the sum of D500, 000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Dalasi) with one Gambian surety who must depose to an affidavit of means in the like sum and must be the owner of a titled to a landed property.

The presiding Judge ordered that the surety shall deposit with the Principal Registrar of the High Court, the original title Deed in respect of his/her said property, together with a valuation report on the property issued by an officer from the Lands Department or any other Government recognized Estate Valuer on a date not earlier than the date of the Order.

He further ordered the Principal Registrar of the High Court to verify, and under his or her hand, approve the title deed and valuation report deposited by the surety before the release of the applicant from custody.

Author: Bruce Asemota