Magistrate AR Bah of the Brikama Magistrate Court today, Monday, April 3, struck out the case of one Fatou Badjie who was charged with insulting President Adama Barrow.
The case was struck out following an application by State Counsels.
According to the particular of the offense, Fatou Badjie on or about February 19, 2017 at Jabang village, Kombo North, West Coast Region in The Gambia, used abusive or insulting words to His Excellency the President of the Republic of The Gambia and one Awa Jadama, with intent to provoke a breach of the peace thereby committed an offense.
Applying for the case to be struck out, a team of state counsels led by Lamin Jarjue supported by Bubacar Jaiteh, submitted that the state had filed a nolle prosequi in respect to the said case dated March 31, 2017 pursuant to Section 64 of the Criminal Procedure Code informing the court of the intent to discontinue the said suit as envisaged under Section 85(1)C of the Constitution which empowers the state to discontinue any criminal or suit filed.
“We applying that Criminal Case BRK/CC/028/17 be struck out in respect of all the counts filed against the accused person. We urged the court to grant our application” State Counsel Jarjue submitted.
Ebrahim Jallow, counsel for the accused person raised no objection but applied for the court to first acquit and discharged the accused and not only strike out the case. He said with the present circumstances and level of the case in which the accused was supposed to open her defense, it will be proper to acquit and discharge her first and then strike out the case.
This prompted state counsel Jarjue to raise objection saying Section 68 of the Criminal Procedure Code provides that if an accused person is charged and an application for withdrawal is made, the reason for which the counsel s relying on will be applicable.
“What is before the court is a nolle prosequi and not a withdrawal. Under this circumstances, the accused person cannot be discharged and acquitted. The only thing the court can do is to strike out the case directly. That is the procedure. We urged the court not to grant the application by the defense counsel but strike out the case straight” Jarjue said.
In her ruling, Magistrate AR Bah said Section 68(1) is very clear about the application made by the state counsel. She granted the application for the case to be nullified and accordingly struck out the case, thereby discharging the accused person.
Magistrate Bah further warned the accused to avoid breaching the peace saying such will not be tolerated and people must respect the laws of the land.