#Article (Archive)

UDP militant granted bail as trial commences

Dec 31, 2013, 9:45 AM | Article By: Halimatou Ceesay

The trial involving UDP militant Ebrima Solo Sandeng opened yesterday at the Brikama Magistrates’ Court before Magistrate Jagne.

The case commenced with the ruling on the bail application, and the testimony of the first prosecution witness.

In her ruling, the trial magistrate said the charge before the court was a bailable offence.

She, therefore, granted him bail in the sum of D1million with two Gambian sureties.

In his testimony, Lamin Singhateh, a police officer attached to Tujereng Police Station, said he recognised the accused person.

He recalled on the 28 November 2013, between 6pm to 7pm, while on duty at the Tujereng Police Station, the accused person, Ebrima Sandeng, arrived with some men and said they wanted to stage a social gathering and a musical entertainment at the Tanji Community Center on 30 November from 8am to 7pm.

Officer Singhateh said he then asked him to write an application, which the accused did and signed as the secretary general of that society.

PW1 adduced that he then approved the written application on the bases of what he applied for, adding that on 30 November 2013, he received a call while at Kombo North VDC from the custodian of the Youth Center, Muhammed Jaiteh, who told him that the people he gave the permit to were from the UDP party.

He said he told Muhammed that the permit he gave them was for a musical entertainment, and not a political rally, as stipulated in the application permit written by the accused.

PW1 further said he told Jaiteh that he could call any police officers, and that the permit was not for a political rally.

He said, on the following day, when he went to the station, his station officer asked him if he issued any permit for a political rally, and he told him that he only issued one to the accused, but it was for a musical entertainment and not a political rally.

Asked by the prosecutor if he knew where the original copy of the permit was, PW1 said it was with the police at headquarters, and could identify a copy by his signature.

The photocopy of the permit was then shown to him, and he identified it and it was shown to the court for verification.

He also said he would be also able to identify the original copy.The prosecutor then applied for an adjournment to produce the original copy.

At that juncture, the defence counsel Ousainou Darboe objected to the application, saying the police knew what material they needed to prove their case.

“This accused was arrested since 9th December until today when the court granted him bail,” said Darboe.

He said they would not allow the prosecution to be dragging the case, adding that “when you talk of speedy trial” it was for criminal cases.

Counsel Darboe said the state abused the right of the accused since 9 December until yesterday, as a way of punishing him.

He added that the prosecution knew where the original document was, and could have come with it, adding that he was asking the court to disallow the application and let the trial proceed.

Counsel said the court needed to be told the truth and not stories, stating that by looking at the charge sheet one could see that it was politically-motivated.

He said the police had washed their hands off the case, and it was hijacked by the NIA and they were the ones who handed the accused to the prosecutors.

In response, the police prosecutor, sub inspector Sarr, said first they wanted the court to know that the case was not politically-motivated but it was a criminal matter.

He said the case was under investigations at police headquarters, and he had communicated to them and they promised to bring the original copy, but unfortunately they could not lay hands on it.

Delivering her judgment, the trial magistrate said she would grant the adjournment, for the prosecution to put their house in order, but such would not be condone again.

The case was then adjourned to 2nd January 2014.

The particulars of offence alleged that the accused, Ebrima Solo Sandeng, on 27 November 2013 wrote an application for a permit to the Tujereng Police Station to stage a social gathering with musical entertainment at Tanji Youth Centre, when he was staging a political rally, knowing or having believed it to be false.