Another setback in Bakau youths’ trial

Jun 4, 2024, 11:31 AM | Article By: Dawda Faye

The case involving some youth from Bakau could not proceed yesterday before Principal Magistrate Sallah-MBai  of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court because four of them were not present in court.

When the case was called, the presiding magistrate told the prosecuting officer, Inspector Jallow, that there was an order for one of the accused persons, Pa Modou Jatta, to be issued a bench warrant to be arrested and remanded until yesterday and brought to court.

In response, the prosecutor told the court that he had called the surety of the accused and told him that the accused should be present in court but the magistrate told him that the order was for the accused to be issued a bench warrant and arrested and brought to court. “You should have told the surety that he would be arrested if he failed to produce the accused, but you never did so,” the magistrate told the prosecutor.

“Your Worship, I apologise. I am applying to the court to extend the bench warrant against Pa Modou Jatta  to be arrested and the other three accused persons,” he noted.

At this juncture, the defence counsel, K. Camara, stood up and urged the court not to issue a bench warrant against Salmina Conteh and Lamin Jammeh. She said that Salmina Conteh lost his father and Lamin Jammeh was admitted at the hospital, as she was informed.

The magistrate then ordered that Pa Modou Jatta and the other accused who were also absent should be arrested and warned those who were present to always be in court on the adjourned date.     

 It could be recalled that Prosecutor Jallow told the court that there was a court order that if any of the accused persons was absent, he should be arrested and remanded.  He said that they disregarded the court order and the case has stalled because of their absence.

The defence counsel begged the court on behalf of one of the accused persons, who came late into the courtroom but was absent when the case was initially called, to give him the benefit of the doubt.

In her previous ruling, the presiding magistrate warned the accused persons who were present that if they failed to appear before the court on the next adjourned date, they would be remanded in custody until the determination of the case. “Pa Modou Jatta should be arrested and remanded until the 3rd June, 2024, when the case will resume because of his absence. For those who absconded, the prosecution should deal with that.”

Initially, the accused persons were thirty-three in number and three of them were later withdrawn but it was only twenty-seven of them who were present in court during the previous sitting.

They are facing eight counts of criminal charges, including conspiracy, preventing the making of proclamation, rioters threatening violence, common nuisance etc.

They are expected back to court on the 3rd July, 2024, for the prosecution witness to continue his testimony.