Alieu Loum and Karanta Darboe, two men who were under trial before a Banjul Magistrates’ Court have been convicted and sentenced by Acting Principal Magistrate Kebba Baldeh after they were found guilty of the charges.
Loum and Darboe were jointly and severally charged with eleven counts including conspiracy to commit a felony, being in possession of fire arms without license and having fire arms without authority.
The matter was under trial before Principal Magistrate Omar Cham who was supposed to deliver the judgement but he is currently on his annual leave.
During the trial period, the prosecution called several witnesses and tendered several exhibits to proof their case while the accused persons made their narrations but tendered no exhibits.
Alieu Loum had earlier pleaded guilty to all the counts expect count two and eleven and was convicted to a fine of D100, 000 in default to serve 20 years imprisonment but after pleading with the court, the fine was reduced to D50, 000 in default to serve one year imprisonment.
In yesterday’s judgment, Magistrate Baldeh said at the initial stage of the trial the accused persons were three in which the second accused person pleaded guilty and was convicted accordingly.
He said while the first and third accused persons maintained a plea of not guilty, the prosecution called Pa Modou Manneh, a narcotic officer who testified and seven exhibits were tendered.
The magistrate said the said witness was part of the arresting officers who conducted a search at the third accused person’s residence at Kololi and found a pistol there.
He said the accused persons explained their side of the story but did not call any witnesses and did not tender any exhibit.
Magistrate Baldeh said after he went through the testimonies of both parties and the analysis of the case, he was satisfied with the prosecution witness’s evidence that the prosecution has proof its case beyond reasonable doubt and the court found the accused persons guilty as charged.
He sentenced Alieu Loum to pay a fine of D100, 000 on count 1 and D25, 000 on the other count in default to serve one year six months jail terms. He said the terms should run concurrently.
The third convict Karanta Darboe was sentenced to pay D100,000 on counts 1,2,3,5,6,7 and 8 in default to serve six months imprisonment while on count 11, he was convicted to pay a fine of D25,000 in default to serve six months imprisonment.
Both convicts had urged the court to temper justice with mercy, saying they are first time offenders and they had suffered during the cause of the trial.
Lawyer Marong, who was in court at the time of the judgment appealed to the court to exercise it discretion by allowing the convicts to pay the fines by instalment.
by Lama S Jallow