Prosecution substitutes assault charge with attempted murder

Friday, January 04, 2019



Superintendent Mballow on 31 December, 2018, substituted an assault causing grievous bodily harm charge with attempted murder before Magistrate Joof of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court.

When the case was called, Prosecutor Mballow announced his representation for the Inspector General of Police along with Sergeant 2717 Jallow. At this juncture, Magistrate Joof told the court that the defence counsel was supposed to provide the court with statutory authority but was not present in court.

However, the accused person, Sulayman Ngum, who was earlier charged with assault causing grievous bodily harm, told the court that his counsel was sick and could not come to court. Then prosecutor Mballow told the court that the defence counsel knew what to do if he was sick. He said that he should have written to the court to inform it that he was sick but failed to do so.

Magistrate Joof, however, stated that the court would give the defence counsel the opportunity to provide the court with the statutory authority.

Prosecutor Mballow rose and told the court that according to the prosecutor who was handling the case, Sergeant 2717 Jallow, the accused person was previously charged with assault causing grievous bodily harm. He adduced that they were applying under Section 169 of the CPC to substitute the charge with attempted murder.

Magistrate Joof subsequently granted the application and told the accused that he was discharged of assault causing grievous bodily harm charge, and asked the clerk to read the new charge to the accused, which she did.  The accused then told the court that he could not take his plea in the absence of his lawyer.

Prosecutor Mballow stood up and said that it was not a legal requirement for the defence counsel to be present in court for the accused to take his plea. The presiding magistrate consented and asked the accused to take his plea. He then pleaded not guilty.

Superintendent Mballow rose again and told the court that he was applying for the accused to be remanded in custody pending the determination of the case. He argued that the accused was entitled to a new bail but said that he would interfere with the witnesses if he was granted bail. He cited, at this juncture, the case of Albert Sambou and the State to support his argument. He further said that this would deter would-be offenders from committing a similar offence.

In response, the accused told the court that he was given bail twice by the police and the court also granted him bail but he never interfered with the complainant. He stated that he would not interfere with any witnesses. He argued that it would be fair for his lawyer to be present in court to argue on his behalf.

Subsequently, Magistrate Joof granted him bail in the sum of D100,000 with two Gambian male sureties who should swear to an affidavit of means and also surrender their ID cards to the registrar of the court. The case resumes on 8 January, 2019, for continuation.

According to the substituted bill of indictment, the accused, Sulayman Ngum, on the 29 November, 2018, at Kololi, attempted unlawfully to cause the death of Adama Ceesay by throwing her from a storey building and thereby causing the dislocation of her left hip.