Economic crime suspect gets court bail

Thursday, June 14, 2018

One Lamin Bobo Jatta was recently granted bail by Justice Oleidi Uko Uduma at the High Court in Banjul in the sum of Four Hundred Thousand dalasis with one Gambian surety who must deposed to an affidavit of means in like sum.

The trial judge’s decision delivered in a ruling on an originating summons filed seeking the release of the applicant from prison custody.

Justice Uduma disclosed that motion was supported by 19 paragraph affidavit deposed and sworn to by one Lang Demba, a resident of Brikama in the West Coast Region on the 15th of May, 2018 with the charge sheet from Banjul Magistrate’s Court attached therein.

She 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 did not file any affidavit in opposition, as they are not opposed to the granting of bail to the applicant.

She cited the case of Banna versus Ocean View Resort Ltd. (2202-2008) 1 GLR which held that 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 Uduma revealed that Section 99 of the Criminal Procedure Code gives the High Court power and discretion to grant bail in offences, which do not carry the death penalty or life imprisonment.

She further revealed that the offences alleged are bail able offences are in line with that section of the Economic Crime Contrary to Section 5 (f) specified offences, since none of them is punishable with death or life imprisonment.

She said in law, 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.

The trial judge remarked 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.

She stated that the applicant averments of the affidavit deposed to in support of the application were met, noting that in paragraphs 7 – 18 of the affidavit in support he indicated that he will not interfere with witnesses and will not jump bail if release and that he has people ready and willing to stand surety for him.

She pointed out that the respondent conceded that the offence alleged are bailable and do not see any reason to opposed bail, adding that Section 24(a) of the 1997 Constitution presumed the applicant innocent until proven guilty is applicable to him at this stage.

The applicant was granted bail accordingly in the sum of four hundred thousand (D400,000.00) dalasis with one Gambian surety who must deposed to an affidavit of means in the like sum and must be the owner of a title to a landed property;

She disclosed 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 recognised Estate Valuer on a date not earlier than the date of this Order;

She further disclosed 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