Sep 17, 2008, 4:27 AM
Narrating the facts to the court, the prosecuting officer, Inspector Touray, said that on 4 October 2010, at the Kotu Quarry, in the Kanifing Municipality, the convicts had their lands in the area.
The Physical Planning under the Ministry of Local Government and Lands visited the said area, he stated.
Having realised the said area, the Physical Planning department gave notice to the convicts to vacate, he said, adding that the government of the day also gave them D6,000 and allocated to them other areas at Alatentu and Tintinto.
Prosecutor Touray adduced that the convicts were still occupying the lands after other areas had been given to them.
This reluctance warranted their arrest, he said, adding that they were therefore cautioned and charged.
The notice given to them to vacate was tendered by the prosecutor, and they did not object to the notice tendered.
The said notice was admitted by the court.
The convicts said they agreed to the facts as narrated by the prosecutor.
In their mitigation, Laity Jammeh begged for mercy, saying he was going to continue to construct the house he planned to move to, but it fell during the raining season.
Ismaila Jarju, in his mitigation, told the court he heard all what was said but was craving the court’s indulgence to temper justice with mercy.
He said he never knew this would be the outcome and begged the court to give him little time to vacate the place.
He stated that he had no job to derive income from to construct a house and had no place to stay.
Tony Jarju also begged the court for mercy, saying he was not well, although he was not disobedient to move from the land. He said he was asked to move to Alatentu but could not have a plot of land.
In his mitigation, Ebrima Jammeh begged the court to temper justice with mercy.
He said he has 15 children and two wives, and lives with his grandmother, adding that he had demolished his house at Alatentu and had constructed another at Tintinto. He stated that three of his children are attending high school and he is also responsible for his other relatives, whilst he was also ill.
Magistrate Jobarteh, in his judgement, told the court he had heard the mitigations of the convicts and had observed their demeanour.
He said they were remorseful, did not waste the time of the court and were first-time offenders.
He stated further that the court would neither give them mandatory sentence, nor fine them but gave them stern warning to vacate the said lands.
They shall serve three months without a fine if they reoccupy the lands, he said.
Momodou Edrisa Bah, Ismaila Jammeh, Sainey Manga, Adama Sanneh, and Albert Manneh were earlier arraigned before the same magistrate and charged with the same offence along with the convicts but they pleaded not guilty.
They were granted bail of D5,000 each with a Gambian surety who should swear to an affidavit of means, and deposit his or her ID card.
The case was adjourned till 8 January 2014, for hearing. According to the particulars of offence, Momodou Edrisa Bah, and others on 4 October 2010, at Kotu, in the Kanifing Municipality, were ordered by the Department of Physical Planning under the Ministry of Local Government to vacate the premises they occupied but failed to do so.