Jul 14, 2017, 9:50 AM
Delivering his judgment, the presiding magistrate told the court that the accused person, Buba Saidy, was charged with two counts of being in possession of arms and ammunitions and threatening violence.
The particulars of offence alleged in count one was that on 3 July 2015, at Bwiam village in Foni Kansala District of the West Coast Region, he was found in possession of one locally made pistol with one cartridge and one empty cartridge, without a licence from the Inspector General of Police and thereby committed an offence.
The particulars of offence alleged in count two was that on 3 July 2015, at Bwiam village in the Foni Kansala District of the West Coast Region, he threatened to kill one Musa Darboe with a locally made pistol by firing one shot in the air and said to Musa Darboe he should return the corrugated iron sheets to where they were.
He said the accused person was arraigned before the court on 31 August 2015, and he pleaded guilty to count one and pleaded not guilty to count two.
The prosecuting officer, Sub-Inspector Ebrima Sarr, gave brief facts of count one and tendered the locally made pistol, the used cartridge and the un-used cartridge, which were admitted into evidence and marked as exhibits.
The prosecuting officer submitted that the locally made pistol and the cartridges were sent to the headquarters of the Republican National Guards for a ballistic examination on the exhibit, and a ballistic report showed that the locally made pistol was serviceable and the said ballistic report was admitted into evidence and marked as an exhibit.
The accused admitted to the facts narrated by the prosecution, and the case was adjourned until 2 September 2015 for ruling, the magistrate went on.
“On 2 September 2015, the case was called and the accused mounted the dock and was represented by counsel Kebba Sanyang, and changed his plea of guilty on count one to not guilty on the grounds that he was confused when the charge was read to him, and accordingly the court recorded a not guilty plea on count one.”
The magistrate further stated that the defence counsel, Kebba Sanyang, sought for an adjournment and it was granted and the case was adjourned to 16 September 2015, for hearing.
When the case was called on 16 September 2015, the accused mounted the dock again and raised his hand and said he was changing his plea on counts one and two from not guilty to guilty.
The court accordingly recorded a plea of guilty on counts one and two. Since the accused person, Baba Saidy, voluntarily pleaded guilty to counts one and two, and admitted to the facts narrated by the prosecution and further admitted to all the exhibits tendered before the court, he therefore found the accused person, Baba Saidy, guilty as charged on counts one and two, and convicted him accordingly.
In plea of mitigation, the convict said: “I am begging the court for mercy. This is my first time I ever encountered a problem. I am the breadwinner of an extended family and I am very sorry for what had happened. I am a schoolteacher with a great vision for The Gambia and provide extra mural classes on pro bono basis. I am begging the court to temper justice with mercy.”
“I have listened carefully to the convict begging the court to temper justice with mercy. I have also considered that the convict is a first-time offender and has entered into an early guilty plea. I shall hold all these as mitigating circumstances in favour of the convict,” the magistrate said.
However, he added, if he was to temper justice with mercy, the convict should be taught a lesson, nonetheless, to deter others in his position.
“The convict is on a course of concern to the public. If the convict’s skill can go without control and his products fall into the wrong hands, then crime will inevitably become uncontrollable and our nation will move to a total breakdown of the rule of law,” said the magistrate.
The convict was at an experimental stage of developing his technology, which if not checked, would pose a serious risk to the public safety, he stated.
“From the foregoing reasons, I hereby sentence the convict, Buba Saidy, as follows: the convict, Buba Saidy, is sentenced to serve 15 years in jail on count one and 3 years on count two and the said sentences are hereby suspended.”
“If the convict within the next 15 years commits any similar offence against the laws of The Gambia, the convict must be arrested and sent to serve 15 and 3 years in prison with hard labour.
“I hereby ordered that the locally made pistol the un-used cartridge and the used cartridge be forfeited to the State.”