Jan 16, 2017, 11:33 AM
The Banjul High Court presided over by Justice Edrissa Fafa M’bai Wednesday granted bail to Foday Barry, former head of intelligence and investigation at the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDEA).
Foday Barry was arraigned at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court and charged with negligence of official duty, which he had denied and was subsequently remanded in custody.
His defence counsel, Uzoma, filed a bail application at the High Court before the Easter Vacation Judge, Justice Endrissa Fafa M’bai, which was heard on 9 April 2013.
Delivering the ruling, Justice M’bai stated that the summons for bail was brought pursuant to the constitution, seeking an order granting bail to the applicant, pending the trial and determination of the charge against him before the Banjul Magistrates’ Court in the charge No.BMC/cc/233/13 or pending the filing of fresh charges by the State.
The application was supported by eleven-paragraph affidavit and counsel said they relied on the paragraphs in their affidavit in support, he said.
“There is an affidavit in opposition containing four paragraphs,” he added.
Justice M’bai said that on 9 April 2013 counsel on both sides made their submissions on why bail should be granted or why it should not.
“Before I proceed with the main issue for consideration, I wish to state that the affidavit in support has not offended any provision of the Evidence Act 1994 and that all the materials required in the affidavit in support are contained therein,” said the Judge.
“The applicant is seeking for bail from this court. He stands charged with the offence of “Negligence of official duty” and this offence is a bailable offence under the constitution and the criminal procedure code,” Justice M’bai stated.
The mere facts that investigations are ongoing or that more charges might be brought are not sufficient reasons to refuse bail.
Similarly the speculative reasoning advanced that because the applicant was a senior security officer, therefore he might interfere with potential witnesses was immaterial, he stated
He said because the applicant might face further charges does not mean he should be in custody indefinitely because he was before the law presumed innocent until proven guilty.
He cited the section of the constitution that made provision for the applicant to be afforded with sufficient time and facilities at his disposal for the preparation of his case.
“There, the continuous detention of the applicant on an offence which is bailable would be against the applicant’s constitutional right, protected under Section 24 (3) (c),” Justice M’bai declared.
“Having considered the submission of both counsels, I shall exercise my discretion judicially and judiciously in favour of the applicant to grant bail with the following conditions:
“The applicant shall have two Gambian sureties who shall each deposit a title deed in their name with the Principal Registrar of the High Court.”
Such properties shall be situated within the Greater Banjul Area or the West Coast Region and shall each be valued not less than D2million.
The applicant shall surrender to the Principal Registrar of the High Court all his travel documents.
The applicant shall not leave The Gambia during the pendency of his trial unless he has a court order to that effect,” he stated.