Drug suspect gets a million dalasis bail

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Fanding Saidykhan; a drug trafficking suspect was recently admitted to bail in the sum of D1,000,000 by Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the High Court in Banjul.

Justice Ebrima Jaiteh’s decision came following a ruling on a motion seeking for granting of bail pending the hearing and final determination of his case.

Justice Jaiteh in his ruling disclosed that the motion was supported by a 13-paragraph affidavit re-sworn and deposed to by one Sainey Sillah of Bundung in the Kanifing Municipality on the 23rd day of July 2018.

He further disclosed that the State law office being the respondent in the case was served with the Originating Summons in respect of the bail application but they did not file any affidavit in opposition, as they are not opposed to the granting of bail to the applicant. 

He cited the case of Banna versus Ocean View Resort Ltd. [2002-2008] 1 GLR which held that unchallenged or uncontroverted evidence whether viva voce or affidavit evidence and that upon reading the applicant’s affidavit which was uncontroverted and  was deemed admitted. The court has no choice than to regard it as establishing the facts alleged.

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

He further revealed that the offence as shown in paragraph 4 of the affidavit in support indicates that the applicant is charged with the offence of drug trafficking and is bail able offence in line with that section of the Criminal Procedure Code, which is not punishable with death or life imprisonment.

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.

He noted that having regards to the averments in the affidavit in support of the application he is of the conviction that the basic conditions for grant of bail have been met in the averments in the affidavit.

Justice Jaiteh disclosed that the applicant indicated in paragraphs 6 and 7 of the affidavit in support that he has people ready and willing to stand surety for him and will abide by the conditions of recognizance if released.

Justice Jaiteh said the respondent conceded that the offence alleged is bailable and do not see any reason to oppose bail whilst taking 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 suspect was accordingly granted bail in the following terms:

1.         Bail is granted to the applicant in the sum of D1, 000, 000.00 (One Million Dalasis);

2.         The Applicant must provide one Gambian surety who must depose to an affidavit of means in the like sum and must be the owner of a titled or a landed property;

3.         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 recognised estate value on a date not earlier than the date of this order;

4.         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