Court grants bail to economic crime suspect

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of High Court in Banjul has granted one Saloum Fatty to a bail in the sum of Five hundred Thousand dalasi with one Gambian surety in like sum.

The applicant is among six other suspects indicted with economic crime (specified offence) Act, contrary to the laws of The Gambia, 2009.

Delivering his ruling last Friday, 18th May, 2018 on the application filed on behalf of the applicant, the presiding Judge disclosed that the motion was supported by a 15-paragraph affidavit deposed and sworn to by one Bunja Janneh of Talinding in the Kanifing Municipality on the 9th day of May 2018 with exhibit marked “BJ1” which is the charged sheet from Banjul Magistrates’ Court.

Justice Jaiteh further disclosed that the State law office was served with the Originating Summons in respect of the bail application and did to not file an affidavit in opposition, as they are not opposed to the granting of bail to the Applicant. 

The Presiding Judge stated that the Applicant’s affidavit was uncontroverted and was deemed admitted citing the case of Banna versus Ocean View Resort Ltd [2002-2008] 1 Gambia Law Report, where it was 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.

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

He noted that the offence shown is a bail able offence and it is in line with Section 99(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code, since none of them is punishable with death or life imprisonment.

Justice Jaiteh further acknowledged that in law, the matters to be taken into consideration is whether or not to grant bail include depend on 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 pointed out that 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 and the State (Respondent) conceding that the offence alleged are bail able.

He further pointed out that he took cognizance of 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 at this stage.

The applicant, he sadi, was granted bail in the sum of D500, 000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Dalasis) 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 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 this Order.

He ordered that the Principal Registrar of the High Court shall 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