#Article (Archive)

16 arraigned, remanded for allegedly destroying Guinea Embassy

Mar 4, 2020, 4:28 PM | Article By: Dawda Faye

Samba Bah, Abdoulie Barry, Salim Jallow, Mamadou Alpha Jallow, Mamadou Korka Jallow, Abdoulie Jallow, Pende Kadijatou Bah, Mariama Jallow, Mamadou Wurry Jallow, Muhammadou Barry, Alpha Jallow, Omar Labbo Jallow, Lamin Bah, Alpha Omar Baldeh, Amadou Jallow and Alasan Jallow were on the 3rd March, 2020, arraigned before Principal Magistrate Isatou Janneh-Njie of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court and charged on seven counts of conspiracy, obstructing a police officer, assaulting a police officer, rioters demolishing building, rioters injuring machinery, attempt to commit arson and assault causing actual bodily harm.

Prosecutors alleged that on 28 February, 2020, at Kololi and diverse places and within the jurisdiction of the honourable court of the Republic of The Gambia, the accused jointly agreed amongst themselves to commit a felony to wit: setting fire on voters cards in custody of the Guinean Consular General to The Gambia.

They were alleged to have jointly and willfully obstructed Sergeant 2331 Samba Secka and 1st Class Constable 5747 Ousman Susso, being police officers, from executing their lawful duties.

It was also alleged that the accused jointly and unlawfully assaulted Sergeant 2331 Samba Secka, who was executing his duties, by holding his hands with a view to disarming and disabling him.

The indictment bill further stated that they riotously assembled together and unlawfully began to destroy the building of the Embassy Premises with cutlasses, stones, hammers and gallons of petrol.

They were alleged to have riotously assembled together and unlawfully damaged the following:  three computers, 2 printers and motor vehicles registration number: RGI CMD marked Toyota Ford and RGI CD.

According to the charge sheet, they willfully and unlawfully set fire on 37 ballot boxes and 37 plastic boxes containing voters’ cards inside the premises of the Embassy, so situated that the building caught fire from it.

The Guinean nationals, according to the indictment bill, jointly and willfully assaulted Mr. Nabi Ibrihim Youla, the Consular General of the Republic of Guinea Conakry to The Gambia, by stoning him on his forehead, causing him actual bodily harm.

The prosecuting officer, Superintendent Mballow, told the court that they are in court under Section 5 of the CPC to have the case mentioned and transferred to the High Court. He submitted that Section 5 of the CPC deals with jurisdiction and it has a provision.

He stated further that in 2009, Chief Justice Savage, in exercise of his powers under Section 5 of the CPC, established a Special Criminal Division. He then read Legal Notice No. 3 to the court. He argued that Legal Notice No. 3 takes the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case.

He further submitted that count four is a capital offence, and applied to the court to transfer the case to the Special Criminal Division. At this juncture, he referred to Section 2 (a) and Section 99 of the CPC to support his argument.

“The court cannot try count four and therefore cannot grant bail to the accused. I am applying to the court to remand the accused, pending the hearing of the case at the Special Criminal Division,” he told the court.

The defence counsel argued that Section 24 (3) of the constitution deals with presumption of innocence, citing Section 99 of the CPC. “The prosecution wants to prolong the detention of the accused. They were in custody since 28 February, 2020. The prosecution knows that the court does not have the jurisdiction to hear the case. Why then bringing the accused before the court?” he quizzed.

On points of law, Prosecutor Mballow argued that Section 24 (3) of the constitution is not absolute.

The presiding magistrate ruled that the court does not have the jurisdiction to hear the case, adding that count four attracts life imprisonment. She subsequently transferred the case to the Special Criminal Division and remanded the accused, pending the hearing of the case at the High Court.