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Oral bail application refused, for April 14 alleged demonstrators

Apr 26, 2016, 10:26 AM | Article By: Halimatou Ceesay

The Banjul High Court presided over by Justice O. Ottaba yesterday refused the oral bail application of the April 14 alleged demonstrators.

They were charged with unlawful assembly, riot, incitement of violence, riotously interfering with vehicles, holding a procession without a permit, and disobeying an order to disperse from an unlawful procession; an allegation they all denied.

They are Lamin Sonko, Bubacarr Gitteh, Baba Ceesay, Modou Touray, Ebrima Janko Ceesay, Alhagie Fatty, Alhagie Jammeh, Lansana Beyai, Lamin Marong, Lamin Jatta, Lamin Camara, Ebrima Jadama, Pa Ousman Njie, Kekuta Yabo, Bubacarr Jah, Muhammed Jawneh, Bubacarr Touray and Saderr Secka.

When the case was called, DPP Barkun appeared for the state while a team of lawyers including senior counsel AB Gaye, A.M. Bensouda, Awa Sisay-Sabally, S.M. Tambadou, O.M.M. Njie, Mary A. Samba, Rachel Y. Mendy, Neneh Cham, Musa Bachilly, Abdoulie Sissoho, Yasin Senghore, Hajum Gaye and Sagar Jahateh, represented the applicants.

In his ruling, the trial judge said the accused persons were arraigned on 21 April 2016 and took their plea.

He said the DPP then asked for a date for hearing, and the defence counsel A. Bensouda objected on the grounds that they should talk about the bail of the accused persons instead.

He said the defence counsel made an oral bail application and said the accused persons should be granted bail, because the offences were bailable citing various authorities in support of her argument.

In response, the DPP objected to the application and called on the court to order the accused persons to apply formally for bail.

“I have considered the submission from both sides and the authorities cited by both counsel,” the judge said.

The case, he went on, was a sister case to the one involving Ousainou Darboe and 18 others, which were adjourned for them to regularise it.

The oral application was therefore refused, he said, and ordered them to file a written bail application.

The DPP then said he wanted the court to adjourn the hearing until Thursday, so the cases could be heard on separate days.

However, counsel Gaye objected on the grounds that this was a criminal matter and “people’s liberty is at stake”.

The trial judge then said they could hear the case on separate dates to have enough time to hear it.

However, counsel Gaye insisted on adjourning the case until Wednesday.

The case was then adjourned until 27 April 2016, at 10:30am.