High Court presided over by Justice Simeon A. Abi on 23 November 2017,
adjourned the criminal trial involving Nuha Dampha, who was charged with the
offence of rape to December sitting.
The allegation against the accused is that on 29 March 2016, at Tinkinto village in the Upper River Region, he intentionally and under coercive circumstances had carnal knowledge of a dumb girl.
During the last sitting, state counsel, Lamin Jarju, informed the court that the state filed information since July 2017 but they were unable to proceed because the accused person has been indisposed.
He however applied that the accused to takes his plea since he was present and after the accused took his not guilty plea, state counsel Jarju raised the issue of bail.
State counsel Jarju urged the court to look at the terms and conditions of the accused person’s bail and prayed the court to significantly increase the bail bond if necessary.
Defence Counsel Chandia submitted that it was not necessary for the court to increase the bail bond, adding that the state did not advance any reason why the bail bond of the accused should be increased.
She however urged the court to disregard the prosecution submissions to increase the accused bail bond.
After listening to the submissions of both parties, the presiding judge pointed out that bail was granted to the accused in the case and there was no argument whether or not to extend the bail bond.
The other question was whether the filling of the charge has radically changed the circumstances, thus necessitating what the state calls a significant increase in the bail bond.
The trial judge said he was inclined to let the bail bond be as it is, noting that the transferred charge on which the accused person came to the court is a charge of rape.
He noted that even the previous Judge, Ezak E. Ezak, who granted the bail bond due to delay in obtaining the case file and filing of the information, had fair knowledge of what allegation was pending against the accused.
He further said the information was laid under the sexual offences Act which entitles the accused to bail for the offence of rape.
The trial judge pointed out that he has cautioned the surety and the father of the accused, Musa Dampha to ensure the appearance of the accused as any default shall draw instant consequences.
Justice Abi therefore ordered that the bail granted to the accused by the order of the court by the previous Judge on 19 July 2016, is extended pending the hearing and determination of the case.
Hearing continues in December sitting.