By: Ousman Saidykhan
Justice Sidi K Jobarteh of the Banjul High Court has denied the defence counsel’s bail application seeking the unconditional release of their clients, Sainabou Mbye and two others with condition that the State must file their bill of indictment on or before the 19th of August 2022.
“In light of the foregoing, I hold that the application of the applicant at this stage lacks merits and their bail application is accordingly refused.
“Nevertheless, the state has been mandated to file a bill of indictment within two weeks, which duration elapses next week,” Justice Jobarteh ruled.
Sainabou and Co were charged with Manslaughter, a charge that is not bailable as per the laws of the Gambia. The trio were first arraigned before the Kanifing Magistrate Court before the case was transferred to the Banjul High Court for lack of jurisdiction.
Defence lawyers for Sainabou and others filed an application before Justice Sidi K Jobarteh seeking the unconditional release of their clients. They submitted that the state has no case since they have not filed any indictment. The defence believed their clients were being illegally detained at Mile 2 without charges, citing the “inhumane” conditions at the prison.
However, Justice SK Jobarteh held that the accused persons were legally detained contrary to the submission of the defence counsel, however, he ordered the State to indict the accused persons within time or they would be granted bail.
“The applicants cannot continue to be held in custody without being indicted at the High Court. Their continuous detention at remand after the expiration of the timeline stipulated by the Court will be unjustified,” the judge said.
Justice SK Jobarteh continued that the State would flout the court order if it fails to file the indictment before the 19th of August which will result in the granting of bail to the accused persons in the sum of 3 million dalasis (one million each) and three Gambian sureties (one for each).
“The sureties shall deposit with the Principal Registrar of the High Court the original copy of their title with respect to their property, freehold or leasehold,” the judge said.
She said each property shall not be less than 1 million dalasis and the evaluation must be done by a recognised governing institution.