There was a dramatic proceeding at the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court last Tuesday in which two Gambian Lebanese shook hands and embraced each other after Magistrate Hilary Abeke settled their case in an open court.
Salma Alaedene (the complainant) and Ali Hamoud (the accused) were said to be having long standing problems, the latest of which brought them to court with a criminal charge of common assault against Hamoud.
Earlier this month, Magistrate Abeke ordered for Hamoud to be remanded in prison custody after he insulted Alaedene inside the court room in Arabic language, which was put in court record as “Habl Kizeb Assir” interpreted in English as “The rope of a liar is short.”
Mr Hamoud is standing a common assault trial in which he secured a court bail but during a last week’s hearing of the case, he used the Arabic proverb on Ms Alaedene which caused him additional trouble and landed him in prison where he spent the Koriteh feast.
Tuesday’s proceeding was historic in that the court practically settled the case and the long standing problems between the two parties.
More than five lawyers, including senior counsel Antouman Gaye had pleaded on behalf of Mr Hamoud. Lawyer Gaye said Mr Hamoud’s father called him from abroad appealing to him to go and plead before the court on behalf of his son. He also said he had known both Mr Hamoud and Ms Alaedene.
Lawyer Gaye appealed, saying what happened to Mr Hamoud was a lesson that he would learn from. “I want the court to release the accused person on bail. I assure you that what happened will not be repeated. I will take it upon myself to amicably bring peace between the two parties. If in the future he repeats the same act, not me or counsel Drammeh would plea on his behalf,” Counsel Gaye affirmed.
Magistrate Abeke said the law dictates that when accused persons are granted bail, they do not interfere with the case and do not commit the same crime.
He said the proverb, “The rope of a liar is short” can be interpreted differently, saying it could even mean that ‘your days are numbered’. “I was coming with the ruling that he has to be charged with threatening life because the insult in Arabic language was interpreted in court by the counsel.” He said Hamoud should have respected the court order since he was on bail.
“What the accused did could be repeated elsewhere by him or any other person. The best option the court had was to send him to Mile 2. I do not intend to release him again pending the hearing of the case because he was disrespectful to the court. Sending him to Mile 2 was not as a punishment but to correct his action that is not deserved in the society,” Abeke said.
He asked the two parties to shake hands and promise the court that they would always embrace peace, which they agreed to. The crowded court cheered while the complainant (Ms Alaedene) promised she has forgiven Mr Hamoud, saying she is ready to mend the broken fences and settle for a more friendly relationship.
The case will resume today for parties to report to court.
by Meita Touray