Former restaurant supervisor, others freed

Monday, July 11, 2016

Magistrate Abeke of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court on 4 July 2016 acquitted Almamy Ceesay, former restaurant supervisor at Kombo Beach Hotel, along with Lamin Jallow, Maimuna Touray and Gibril Jatta, when he delivered his judgment.

He said the prosecution failed woefully to prove their case against the accused persons, who were charged with conspiracy and stealing by clerk or servant, beyond reasonable doubt.

They were alleged to have stolen D8,000, being monies paid by visiting guests who had breakfast at the hotel.

He ordered Kombo Beach Hotel to reinstate Almamy Ceesay, Lamin Jallow, Maimuna Touray and Gibril Jatta and pay them all their entitlements and benefits.

He further ordered that if the hotel is unwilling to reinstate them, then they should pay them their entitlements and benefits.

Magistrate Abeke said in his judgment that the first prosecution witness testified that Lamin Jallow told him that on 14 November 2014, he was on duty and that he did not know anything about the case, since he was working in the kitchen.

The magistrate further stated that Amie Conteh asked the first, second and third accused persons, but they said they did not also know anything about the matter, and that the second and third accused persons told Amie Conteh that they did not see any guests coming from Bakotu Hotel and who had breakfast.

Still delivering his judgment, the magistrate said the third prosecution witness told the court that Almamy Ceesay denied the allegation at the police station.

He stated further that the first and third prosecution witnesses did not disclose any offence.

Amie Conteh was not aware of what happened, as the Personnel Manager of the hotel, adding that what she told the court was told to her by the General Manager, he continued.

He adduced that she had no personal knowledge about the said guests who claimed to have had breakfast, adding that her evidence was hearsay, speculation and fabrication.

He said he found as a fact that the prosecution failed to prove the case against the accused persons.

He further said the prosecution did not call the General Manager to testify, adding that they did not produce the names of the guests who had breakfast, and that they failed to produce any document to show that the guests had made payments.

Magistrate Abeke went on to say that according to the charge sheet, the accused persons stole D8,000.

He said the suspension letters issued to the accused persons indicated that they stole D14,000 and their dismissal letters stated that they stole D20,000.

He said there were contradictions in the evidence before the court, adding that no material witnesses were called by the prosecution to testify, and that no material documents were tendered by the prosecution either.

“Relying on the evidence of the prosecution witnesses to convict the accused persons means sending them to their graves,” Magistrate Abeke told the court.

At this juncture, he cited some authorities to support his judgment.

In totality, he continued, the prosecution failed woefully to establish a prima facie case against the accused persons.

He added that in the light of the above, the prosecution had failed to prove and convince the court that the accused persons committed the charges against them.

Accordingly, he found the accused persons not guilty on counts one and two (conspiracy and stealing by clerk or servant).

“I hereby acquit all of them,” he told the court.

The magistrate ordered the police to give back Almamy Ceesay D1,400 which they recovered from him immediately.

He said the money was not tendered before the court.

Author: Dawda Faye