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Magistrate says court’s hands are tied In case of six female alleged demonstrators

May 18, 2016, 1:04 PM | Article By: Dawda Faye

Magistrate Abeke of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court on 17 May 2016 declared before the court that the court’s hands were tied, when he was delivering a ruling in the case involving Isatou Saidy, Lele Bojang, Sukai Dahaba, Kaddy Samateh, Fatoumata Sarr and Amie Touray.

They were charged with seven counts of unlawful assembly, riot, incitement of violence, holding procession without a permit, idle and disorderly behaviour, common nuisance and prohibition of conduct conducive to a breach of the peace.

He ruled that the state should take back their case, following the application made by the defence for the prosecution to put their house in order, and also for the court to strike out the charge against the accused persons.

He said he had repeated severally that there was nothing before the court, since he earlier ruled that the prosecution should put their house in order.

He further adduced that he would not adjourn the case, neither would he strike out the charges against the accused persons.

When the case was called, lawyer Janet Sallah-Njie, who led the defence team, told the court she was representing the accused persons along with Neneh Cham, Lubna Farage, Haddy Daneh Jabbie, Sagarr Jahateh, Anna Njie and Jainaba Sambou.

She said the accused persons were present in court.

Magistrate Abeke then asked Kaddy Samateh, who was breastfeeding her baby in the dock, to sit down. Isatou Saidy, an elderly woman, was also asked by the magistrate to leave the dock and sit down.

State counsel Lamin Jarju told the court they were representing the state and taking over the case from the police, and further said they were representing the IGP as well.

He added that he was with state counsel S.K. Jobe, and that he was applying for a short adjournment so the state could file a new charge sheet.

Lawyer Janet Sallah-Njie rose and told the court that she was a bit “flabbergasted by the position taken by the state counsel”, adding that she did not understand under which law the state counsel was making an objection.

She argued that the court adjourned the matter for a ruling, adding that she was reminding the court that there was a ruling to be read.

She said the state counsel submitted that he had matters such as fiat and bail issues, adding that this was “erroneous”.

She argued that the ruling had nothing to do with bail and fiat, saying the records of the court had nothing to do with what the state counsel had said.

She further stated that they have no objection on the state taking over the case, but there is no law that says that orders, rulings, etcetera are vacated, bearing in mind the fact that the court had already ordered for the accused to be granted police bail.

The objection by the state counsel had no basis and was “misconceived”, and the court’s orders must be obeyed, she went on.

The Defence counsel urged the court to disregard the objections made by the state counsel, adding that they were informed by the state counsel they intended to file new charges.

Because they intended to file new charges, the court should stay proceedings, she continued.

The defence counsel argued further that it did not justify for a stay of proceedings, adding that the state should apply for the charge to be struck out if they intended to file new charges.

Since the charges were incompetent, they ought to be struck out, as they were not proper before the court, she added.

State counsel Jarju in response said the defence application has no basis, and that the court could not strike out the charges when there was no proper charge before the court.

He said since the court had ruled earlier, there was nothing before the court.

Magistrate Abeke finally ruled that the state should take back their case, and all the accused persons were escorted by some PIU officers out of the courtroom and asked to board police vehicles.

Kaddy Samateh, who was with her one-month-old baby, was crying as they were being driven out of the court premises. [endif][if gte mso 9] [endif][if gte mso 10] [endif]