Jan 30, 2020, 2:00 PM
Basiru Jallow, Tijan Jeng, Muhammed Suso, Lamin Saidyleigh, Saikou Bah, Ousman
Fofana, Samba Jeng, Lamin Fatty, Momodou Alieu Kanteh, Ousman Touray, Kawsu
Sawaneh, Essa Jeng, Banna Saho, Omar Touray and Fabakary Bajo were on 6 April,
2020, convicted and sentenced to a fine of D5,000 in default to serve six
months’ imprisonment. The Kanifing Magistrates’ Court presided over by
Magistrate P. Sarr convicted them for
carrying greater number of passengers than authorised to carry, contrary to
Section 2 (1) (a) and punishable under Section 9 (1) of the restriction of
Public Transport Emergency Powers Regulations, (PTEPR) 2020. This followed
their plea of guilt.
Dawda Sanneh, Baba Jallow, Kalilu Jallow and Basiru Secka pleaded not guilty while Madi Faal and Amadou Jallow were absent.
In her judgment, the presiding magistrate told the court that she had heard all the convicts’ plea in mitigation and she must say that it had moved her a lot and that they had shown sufficient remorse. She added that for the fact that they were first-time offenders too, she would resolve in their favour.
However, she added, to every crime there is a punishment, and punishments are forms of deterrent to the convicts and would-be perpetrators. “I must emphasise the fact that the offence the convicts committed is very serious, taking into consideration the covid-19 pandemic which is a global issue and it has cost the lives of thousands of people around the world including The Gambia,” she stated.
She further noted that the said regulations are made during an emergency situation and should be respected by all, irrespective of our backgrounds and professions. She added that we, as a nation, should all be in this fight together so that we can help drive away the said coronavirus from The Gambia and the world as a whole.
“Therefore each and every individual has a role to play in the fight against covid-19. It is not news to anyone in The Gambia that the president of the republic has declared a state of emergency and has given certain regulations to be followed which are in line with the WHO guide lines and our local health experts. The convicts did not only put themselves at risk of spreading this deadly virus but the nation as a whole,” she opined.
Magistrate P. Sarr further said that she would in the interest of justice temper justice with mercy and not give the convicts the maximum sentence which is a fine of D10,000 but sentence them to pay a fine of D5,000 each in default to serve six months’ imprisonment.
Prosecutors alleged that on 6 April, 2020, at Churchill’s Town, in the Kanifing Municipality of the Republic of The Gambia, being commercial drivers and while driving motor vehicle registration numbers: BJL 7136 G licenced to carry 14 passengers, NBD 2230 A licenced to carry 14 passengers, KM 4515 C licensed to carry 14 passengers, BJL 5729 S licenced to carry 14 passengers, BJL 7829 Q licenced to carry 14 passengers, WCR 4593 P licenced to carry 14 passengers, BJL 5476 S licenced to carry 14 passengers, BJL 0751 R licenced to carry 14 passengers, BJL 5884 R licenced to carry 14 passengers, WCR 4510 A licenced to carry 14 passengers, NBR 0401 A licenced to carry 14 passengers, BJL 7536 R licenced to carry 14 passengers, BJL 1254 K licenced to carry 14 passengers, BJL 0186 Q licenced to carry 14 passengers, BJL 4813 S licenced to carry 14 passengers, BJL 9952 K licensed to carry 14 passengers, BJL 7868 H licenced to carry 14 passengers, WCR 6110 A licenced to carry 14 passengers, BJL 7940 L licenced to carry 14 passengers, BJL 9567 Q licenced to carry 14 passengers, BJL 6259 B licenced to carry 14 passengers and restricted by the Public Transport Emergency Powers Regulations to carry not more than half of 14 passengers, they carried more than the restricted number of passengers.
Following their plea of guilt, Superintendent Mballow, who was leading the prosecution team, read the facts to the court. He was assisted by Inspectors Sanneh, Trawally and Sergeant Camara.
The case continues on 14 April, 2020, to try those who pleaded not guilty, who were granted bail in the sum of D10,000 each with two Gambian sureties who should deposit their ID cards and swear to an affidavit of means.