Court says no bail for ex-agric officials
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Justice Emmanuel Amadi of the Brikama High Court yesterday
overruled the bail application filed before him on behalf of six former staff
of the Ministry of Agriculture and a local businessman.
Justice Amadi made this decision in a ruling on the said bail application in the criminal trial involving the state against Bakary Trawally, Momodou Mbye Jabang, Momodou Lamin Ceesay (a local businessman), Awa Saye-Touray, Kekoi Kuyateh, Dr Amadou Sowe and Dr Mustapha Ceesay.
The accused persons are standing trial on five counts of criminal offences ranging from economic crime to negligence of official duties and giving false information all contrary to the Laws of The Gambia.
Justice Amadi in his ruling stated that before the court exercises its discretion, it must consider the nature of the charge, the severity of the punishment, and the evidence before the court, criminal records of the accused persons and availability of the accused persons during the trial.
“Saying that the applicants have families and do not have criminal records and are public officers does not certify that they will not jump bail. Bail is for the availability of the accused persons for trial,” Justice Amadi stated.
He noted that the affidavit in position filed by the state, disclosed that the first, second and third accused persons are senior public officials and if they are granted bail they will interfere with the witnesses. He also noted that Momodou Lamin Ceesay who is a businessman travels out of the country and can easily jump bail.
Justice Amadi revealed that on the part of the fifth and seventh accused persons, apart from the fact that they live in the Gambia nothing more is said about them. He further stated that despite the beautiful language of their affidavit, little is known about them.
For these reasons, he said he said he finds it difficult to
exercise his discretion in favour of the accused persons and subsequently
overruled the bail application made on behalf of the applicants by their
defence counsel, Lawyer L.S. Camara and S.M. Tambedou. The state counsel, Simon Abi then applied for an adjournment
on the grounds that his witness has a family problem and has travelled outside
The defence lawyers objected to this application on the grounds that the accused persons are under custody and the prosecution has eight (8) witnesses in their list. The case was however adjourned to today for hearing.
Author: Fatou Sowe