Sep 29, 2014, 10:27 AM
“I will accordingly refuse to grant bail, but in doing so, I shall order for an expedited hearing of the substantive suit on a day-to-day basis if it is convenient to both sides, and until this matter is fully determined,” Justice Nkea declared in a ruling delivered before a packed court room.
Let the applicant be made to see the doctor to determine his medical condition, the judge said.
Amadou Sanneh was arraigned alongside Malang Fatty and Sambou Fatty, charged with conspiracy to commit an act with seditious intention, sedition, possession of seditious publication and false swearing.
However, Malang Fatty and Sambou Fatty, 1st and 2nd accused persons had earlier admitted to the charges.
Delivering his ruling, Justice Nkea stated that the applicant, the 3rd accused, Amadou Sanneh, in the substantive case, has brought this application urging upon the court to admit him to bail pending the hearing and determination of the charges now pending against him before his court.
The judge stated that the case for the grant of bail, according to the affidavit of one Haddijatou Sanneh, the wife of the applicant, was that since his arrest on 25th September 2013, the applicant had been held incommunicado at the premises of the NIA, and he is a diabetes patient and the offences are bailable.
He said the applicant’s affidavit further stated that he had deep family roots in The Gambia, and could provide good and sufficient sureties and it was believe that he would not jump bail.
The trial judge pointed out that the respondent state opposed the application by filing a four-paragraph affidavit in opposition.
He added that the grounds for this objection are that there was overwhelming and weighty evidence against the applicant, and taking the nature and the gravity of the offences charged and considering he wields enormous influence both at home and abroad by virtue of his position as the national treasurer of the United Democratic Party, he would likely jump bail.
Both sides extensively addressed the court on their respective positions, citing persuasive authorities from Nigeria, and that now once a person had been charged to court, the relevant law regulating the grant of bail is section 99 of the CPC, said Justice Nkea.
In this regard, he went on, the application was properly founded on law and by virtue of that section of the CPC, there was a presumption against the grant of bail for offences attracting the death penalty or life imprisonment or otherwise.
“There is a general presumption in favour of grant of bail subject only to the discretion of the court; and in exercise of this judicial discretion, the court must act judicially and judiciously, and is it judicial when the application is grounded and supported by law and judicious when all the particular circumstances of the case are taken into consideration,” he stated.
“I have looked at the offences under section 52 of the Criminal Code and I agreed with the DPP that while there is a statutory minimum sentence for the offence, there is no statutory maximum. So upward sentencing the discretion of the court is very wide, and this wide up sentencing discretion means that the offence is not a misdemeanor,” he said.
“I have looked at exhibit A, the attestation allegedly issued by the applicant on the UDP letterhead, and it seems to me ex-facie the prosecution evidence is strong and weighty. I have seen that the applicant suffers from diabetes, but there is no corresponding evidence to suggest the degree of the disease or that the kind of diabetes he suffers from is terminal. This factor did not therefore strengthen his application for bail,” he stated.
The case was then adjourned to 29 October 2013, for hearing.
The state in count one accused Malang Fatty, Sambou Fatty and Amadou Sanneh (National Treasurer of United Democratic Party), sometime in September 2013, at Banjul and in diverse places in The Gambia, within the jurisdiction of the court, conspired amongst themselves to commit an act with seditious intention and thereby committed an offence.
Count two stated that Malang Fatty, Sambou Fatty and Amadou Sanneh (National Treasurer of United Democratic Party) sometime in September 2013, at Banjul and within the jurisdiction of the court, with the intent to bring hatred or contempt or excite disaffection against the person of the President of The Republic of The Gambia or the Government of The Gambia, printed malicious document titled “ATTESTATION” on a letter headed paper of the United Democratic Party (UDP) and thereby committed an offence.
Count three indicated that Malang Fatty sometime in September 2013, at Banjul and elsewhere in The Gambia and within the jurisdiction of the court, had in his possession a seditious document titled ‘ATTESTATION’ and thereby committed an offence.
The state in count four further accused Amadou Sanneh (National Treasurer of United Democratic Party) that sometime in September 2013, at Banjul and within the jurisdiction of the court, falsely made a declaration before one Bakary Baldeh, a Commissioner of Oaths with knowledge that the said declaration was false and thereby committed an offence.