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D4m Theft Case Takes A U-Turn

Oct 15, 2009, 6:55 AM | Article By: Dawda Faye

Lawyer O.D. Mbye, representing Wandifa Marika, who was charged with stealing D4, 324,187, at Bank PHB while he was a cashier, and who also earlier pleaded guilty, applied before Principal Magistrate Ikpala to allow the accused to change his plea of guilty to not guilty.

In his submission, the Defence Counsel told the court that he understood that the accused's plea was partly taken and he pleaded guilty. He stated that he had advised the accused to change his plea from guilty to not guilty. He cited some authorities to support his submission.

He further submitted that the accused had not been convicted and that the discretion lies on the court to allow the accused to change his plea from guilty to not guilty. He added that the accused was not represented by a lawyer and came to court as a layman.

He therefore urged the court to allow the accused to change his plea from guilty to not guilty.

Inspector Fadera, Prosecuting Officer, rose to say that he was not objecting to the application made by the Defence Counsel for the interest of justice.

Magistrate Ikpala, as a result, granted the application.

The charge sheet was then read to the accused for the second time and pleaded not guilty.

Inspector Fadera applied to the court to adjourn the case for hearing.

The Defence Counsel then applied to the court to grant the accused bail on the grounds that the offence is bailable. He stated that the accused is a Gambian and has a family, and that he would not leave the country if granted bail. He urged the court to grant the accused bail on reasonable condition. He argued that the accused was still innocent as far as the law is concerned.

He further urged the court to take all these into consideration.

Inspector Fadera then rose to say that he was objecting to it. As he testified, the Defence Counsel had admitted that the amount involved in the case was huge, and that if the accused was granted bail he would abscond. 

He then referred the court to Section 99 (2) of the CPC, stating that if the court should grant the accused bail, it should be commensurate with the amount involved and the conditions should be stiff.

Principal Magistrate Ikpala, in his ruling, told the court that both the Prosecutor and the Defence Counsel admitted that the offence was bailable and that the amount involved was huge.

He subsequently granted the accused bail in the sum of D2, 000,000 with two Gambian sureties who should have properties on Kairaba Avenue.

But the Defence Counsel urged the court to reconsider the bail condition in the sense that the relatives of the accused do not have properties on Kairaba Avenue, although they have properties that value more than D2, 000,000 but not on Kairaba Avenue.

The trial Magistrate refused to reconsider the bail condition and adjourned the case to 5th November, 2009 for continuation.

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