May 7, 2015, 10:35 AM
Former magistrate and High Court judge, Moses B. Johnson-Richards, was Friday arraigned at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court before Magistrate Emannuel Nkea, charged with giving false information and sedition.
Moses Richards, who vehemently denied the charges, was ordered to be remanded in police custody.
The charge sheet on count one stated that Moses B Johnson-Richards, on 6th November 2010 at Banjul, knowingly gave false information to the Sheriff of the Gambia to wit: That His Excellency the President of the Gambia has ordered the stay of execution of the writ of possession in civil suit No 349|92 B No.28, with intent to cause the Sheriff of the Gambia to stop the execution of the said writ of possession.
Count two read that Moses B Johnson-Richards, on 6th November 2010 at Banjul, published a letter to the Sheriff of the Gambia stating that His Excellency the President of the Republic of the Gambia had ordered a stay of execution of a writ of possession in civil suit NO349 B No.28, with intent to bring into contempt the person of the said President.
Defence counsel Antouman Gaye, in applying for bail on behalf of his client, told the court that the alleged offence committed is a bailable one.
He disclosed that the accused person was a responsible civil servant, who had served this country at various positions with dedication and hard work.
Senior counsel Gaye further added that the accused had one time served as a magistrate up to the rank of principal magistrate, and later appointed as a judge at the criminal division of the High Court.
He further said that it is a constitutional right for the accused person to be granted bail, more so when the offence is a bailable offence.
Gaye pointed out that the accused person is a responsible family man at home, and if remanded in custody would cause some hardship to other members of his family.
“The offence charged is a bailable offence, and people are here willing and ready to stand as sureties if he is granted bail by the court,” he added.
“If the court grants bail to the accused person, he would be available at all times when the court needs him,” counsel stated.
The accused person, he continued, is a good citizen, who had served his country for many years, during which he rose through the ranks, until his termination from active service.
“I, therefore, urge the court to grant bail to the accused person,” he concluded.
In response to the defence counsel’s application, state counsel Simon Obi told the court that the prosecution was objecting to bail for the accused person, on the grounds that if the accused was granted bail, he might jump bail.
The trial magistrate later ruled that he had listened to both submissions, and ordered the accused person be remanded in police custody.
The case was adjourned till today for continuation.