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In Bakau Land Dispute Case, Accused Persons Discharged, Acquitted

Nov 5, 2009, 1:10 PM | Article By: Dawda Faye

Senior Magistrate Abdoulie Mbacke of the Kanifing Magistrates Court on 3rd November, 2009 discharged and acquitted one Essa Sonko, Lamin Trawally and Matuju Njie, who were charged with wilful damage to property.

In his judgement, Magistrate Mbacke said that the court had carefully listened to the evidences of the prosecution witnesses and that of the Defence.

According to him, it was the view of the court that the accused persons were not guilty of the offence charged.

Noting that the accused persons were not guilty of the offence charged, he said the prosecution had failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. 

He told the court that the accused persons were running an Arabic school which was temporarily allocated to them by the owner, noting that the evidences of the Defence's witnesses corroborated to it.

Still delivering the judgement, he stated that cutting down the banana trees of the complainant by the accused persons was not a wilful damage to property, hence they were authorised by the Ministry of Lands and Local Government, to use the land on which the complainant planted his banana trees and had the right to clear it.

He further said that the complainant was not the rightful occupant of the land. He added that "the testimony of the Alkalo of Bakau had revealed that he advised the complainant to vacate the land and that there was a letter from the state which indicated that the land had been allocated to the accused persons and the said letter was shown to the complainant but said he would not vacate unless and until he was compensated."

He went on to say that the accused persons were exercising their rights under the State Lands Act and the complainant was an intruder who occupied the land unlawfully.

He indicated that the Alkalo acted properly by forwarding the accused persons' request for land allocation to the Ministry of Lands and Local Government.

He further stated that the land in dispute did not belong to any Kabilo or individual but by the state. He added that in view of the foregoing facts, the elements or ingredients of the offence charged had not surfaced during the trial. He said the accused persons had the right to clean and occupy the land and do not owe any obligation to anyone.

He finally discharged and acquitted the accused persons.