Court affirms thief sentence and orders his deportation

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Justice Oleidi Uduma of High Court in Banjul recently dismissed an appeal filed by one Papa Faal, a Senegalese and affirmed the sentence and conviction of Farafenni Magistrate Court presided over by Magistrate Thomasi.

Delivering judgment, presiding judge disclosed that Papa Faal was convicted and sentenced for stealing Contrary to Section 252 of the Criminal Code Cap 10 Vol III Law of The Gambia.

She further disclosed that the particulars of offence stated that on or about 25th of June 2016 around the hours of 17.00 hrs at Farafenni Town, North Bank Region, stole two (2) mobile phones; Africell touch phone valued D450 and Wiko mobile phone valued D4.000.00 total value of D4,450.00 from the shop of one Binta Njie.

She revealed that the fact of the case as distilled from the record of proceedings is that the appellant pleaded not guilty to the offence charged and he testified as a lone witness in his defence.

The trial judge further revealed that the prosecution called 3 witnesses to prove their case and Binta Njie a business woman at Farafenni testified as the first prosecution witness.

Binta Njie testified that she recognized the accused and explained how Papa Faal entered her shop and stole her mobile phones while she was lying down at the veranda.  And she identified the two mobile phones which was marked as exhibit A and B.

Justice Uduma said PW2 Oumie Awa Jallow testified that she recalled on the 25th June, 2016 she saw the Papa Faal entered into the shop of one Binta Njie while she was lying down sleeping in the veranda.

Justice Uduma further said PW3 Ansu M. Saidy, identified the appellant and stated that on June 25, 2016, he was on duty at police station in Ferafenni when PW1 arrived in the Charge Office and lodge a complaint that two of her mobile phones were stolen from her shop and the complaint was booked in the police diary.

Justice Uduma disclosed that after sometime he received a call that a suspect by the name Pap Faal was arrested at Bamba Tenda and upon his arrival at the scene he saw the appellant and searched him and found two mobiles on him.

PW3 questioned him and he claimed ownership but did not know the numbers in the phones and the owner of the phones called the phones and it was received and Papa Faal was taken to Farafenni Police Station.

Justice Uduma revealed that Papa Faal pleaded not guilty to the offence charges and in his defence he testified that he was on transit route to Zingenchor when he was arrested at Bamba Tenda by a police officer who recognised him that he was deported from Gambia to Senegal and asked why he should come back to Gambia and he explained that he was on his way to Zigenchor.

Justice Uduma further revealed that at the end of the defence evidence he was convicted for theft and sentenced to 2 years six months imprisonment and upon completion of sentence he would be deported to his country of origin.

The appellate judge disclosed that Papa Faal argued in person and denied committing the said offence but he was recognised by a police officer as a person who was pardoned and deported back to his country and he was accused by the police officer of stealing.

Justice Uduma said despite the fact that the state respondent did not file any opposition or submission to the appellant’s argument but after a careful perusal of the record of proceedings, the appellant is not first time offender but was previously pardoned and deported to Senegal.

Justice Uduma remarked the appellant in his words stated thus “a police officer recognises me that I was pardoned and deported back to my country”.

The appellate judge further remarked that it could have been a good signal for him to stay clear from the shores of The Gambia and not to engage in any activities that will implicate him again in The Gambia. 

Justice Uduma revealed that since the reverse is the case she does not have reason to believe him to be truthful rather than to uphold the decision of the trial court.

Justice Oleidi Uduma accordingly dismissed his appeal and affirmed the two years and six months jail term imposed by Farafenni Magistrate Court. 

She ordered that he should be deported to his country of origin upon completion of the sentence.

Author: Bruce Asemota