Man released from prison custody

Friday, August 03, 2018

One Lamin Jabang was recently released from prison custody by presiding Judge Oleidi U. Uduma of the High Court in Banjul.

The appellant was convicted on three count charge of breaking into a building with intent to commit felony, theft and assault causing actual bodily harm by the Brikama Magistrate’s Court in August 2015.

The appellant was sentenced to five years in prison with hard labour on count one, five years in prison with hard labour on count two, five years with hard labour on count three, and he was further ordered to compensate Naha Camara, the sum of D20,000.00 for causing him actual bodily harm in default to serve 2 years in prison with hard Labour.

Dissatisfied with the conviction and sentence, the appellant filed a notice of appeal to the High Court and he was unrepresented by a lawyer both in the lower court.

In her judgment, Justice Uduma said the appellant gave an oral argument on appeal and that after listening to the arguments of the appellant and the submission of the counsel for the state/ respondent it is conclusive that the court could have rely on Section 272 of the CPC in respect of plea of guilty as the prosecution counsel rightly said.

She noted that the court was constrained to go by Section 272 on the grounds that there was insufficient record of proceedings from the magistrate’s court and the record that was available to the appellate court was incomplete as to show what transpired in the Magistrate Court.

Justice Uduma disclosed that since the record before the trial court was incomplete, the court cannot do otherwise than to rely on the provision of Schedule 2 Order 53 Rule 17 and 18 of the High Court Rules Vol II Cap 6 .01 of the Laws of The Gambia.

She stated that Order 53 Rule 17 provides that the high court shall have power to give any judgment and make any order which ought to have been made and to make such further or other order as the case may require.

Justice Uduma averred that there seems to be contradiction from the information available on records, noting that the facts as read out by the police prosecution alleged that the appellant used a pair of scissors to assault the complainant whilst the fact as adduced from the judgment shows that it was a firewood that was used to assault the victim, which was collaborated by the evidence of the appellant in the court.

She disclosed that the appellant paid the bill for the treatment of the victim who has been his friend.

She disclosed that the record from the lower court was incomplete as to get the facts of the proceedings and to know what transpired, noting that the said court is court of records and should go by the records available to the court. 

She remarked that the said court is a court of justice and should do justice to a case and credence to it especially where life is at stake.

Justice Oleidi Uduma accordingly ordered the release of the appellant; Lamin Jabang from prison custody.

Author: Bruce Asemota