Sep 22, 2011, 12:27 PM
Nine street beggars were yesterday arraigned at the Banjul Magistrates' Court, charged with common nuisance.
The accused person are namely, Baba Amadou Sallah, Edrisa Bah, both Senegalese, Mariama Bah, Awa Joof, Jainaba Gigo, Fatou Sowe, and Kadijatou Jallow, all Gambians, Mariama Bah and Mariama Sowe, both Guinean nationals.
The court found them all guilty, based on their own plea of guilt.
In their plea of mitigation, they told the court that is not their will to be loitering in the streets, and that they did not have any other means to sustain themselves without going out to beg.
They further told the court that they do not have the needed support; this was why they go out to look for survival.
Senior Magistrate Hilary U. Abeke, in his judgment noted that the alleged offence for which the accused persons were charged carries a penalty of one year's imprisonment without any option of a fine.
However, the court has taken certain things into consideration, due to the circumstances and nature of their case, he said, more so they have been in police custody, since on Friday. The magistrate added that by looking at them, he could tell that some are in their 60s, and are old men and women.
As a result, the court would consider not imposing a custodial sentence on them, but to warn them and discharge them.
The magistrate, therefore, warned them to stay in their homes and to be content with the little they have without going out in the streets to beg.
The particulars of the offence stated that on or about 18th June 2010 in Banjul and diverse places in The Gambia, the accused persons obstructed the public highway, causing inconvenience to the general public.