By Dawda Faye
Ousman Bah, Basiru Gaye, Demba Njie, Sarjoe Fatty, Hadim Muna Samasa, Omar Jabbie, Ebrima Bah, Dodou Njie, Jahe Kanteh, Muhammed Fadia, Lansana Tamba, Sheikh Joof, Omar Darboe, Lamin Danso, Ali Cham alias Killer Ace, Almamy Yaya Sillah, Yankuba Manneh, Alpha Omar Bah, Ebrima Camara, Musa Krubally, Muctarr Jallow, Pa modou Ndoye, Malick Tine, Abdoulie Camara, Abdourahman Bah, Adama Njie, Modou S. Jallow (Fagikunda), Hamadi Sowe, muhammed Barry, Muhammed Gando Camara, Ebrima Mboob, Joseph Bangura, Mustapha Jallow, Salieu Sambou, Fafa Janneh, Modou S. Jallow (Tanji) and Yerro Saidy, who demonstrated at the Serrekunda Market on the 24 July, 2019, were arraigned before Magistrate Don –Njie of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court on the 27 August, 2019, on counts of conspiracy, unlawful assembly, prohibition of conduct conducive to breaches of the peace, arson, rioters demolishing building and riotously injuring machinery.
Count one stated that on or about 24 July, 2019, at Serrekunda Market and diverse places within the Kanifing Municipality of the Republic of The Gambia, they jointly and unlawfully agreed among themselves to commit a felony to wit: unlawful assemblies, malicious damage and arson respectively.
According to count two, they jointly and unlawfully assembled themselves with intent to carry out a common purpose to wit: committing a breach of the peace. Count three indicated that while at Serrekunda –Sayerr Jobe Avenue, Bakotheh, Bijilo and Ebo Town respectively, and being at such places with intent to commit a breach of the peace, provoked the public peace by disrupting traffic flow and instilling fear to other members of the public.
The indictment on count four revealed that they jointly and willfully set fire to Assistant Gorgi Mboob’s compound. The indictment further stated on count five that they jointly and willfully set fire on the Bakoteh Police Station.
According to account six, the accused, being riotously assembled together, destroyed a fence of the Anti Crimes Unit Headquarters of the Gambia Police Force. Count seven went on to state that being riotously assembled together, they unlawfully destroyed a motor vehicle registration number GPF 26 WCR (West Coast Region’s Court Service), a mini bus, by smashing the entire vehicle . It was alleged on count eight that the accused, being riotously assembled together, unlawfully set on fire a motor vehicle registration number GPF 26 WCR, (West Coast Region’s Court Service), a mini bus.
When the case was called, Superintendent Mballow rose and told the court that he was representing the IGP along with M. Badjie. He informed the court that the 22nd, 23rd and 35th accused persons were absent.
Lawyer Assan Martin stood up and said that he was representing all the accused persons except the 15thaccused person. Lawyer Patrick Gomez informed the court that he was representing Ali Cham alias Killer Ace along with Counsel S.K. Jobe. Lawyer Gomez applied to the court to stand down the case for 15 minutes to consult their clients. Prosecutor Mballow did not object to the application to stand down the case for 15 minutes. The application was granted by the court.
When the case resumed, Prosecutor Mballow stated that the accused were charged on eight counts, noting that he was calling the attention of the court to counts 4,5,6 and 7. He argued that counts four and five are arsons.
He adduced that counts 6 and 7 are demolishing building, adding that the court pursuant to Section 5 (1) of the CPC is about jurisdiction or power to try any of them except treason. He cited Section 5 (1) (A) of the CPC to support his argument. He applied to the court to invoke Section 5 (1) (A) of the CPC not to entertain a case that should be presided over by a Special Criminal Division established by law. He applied in pursuant to Section 208 (A) of the CPC for the court to transfer the case to the Special Criminal Division of the High Court. He urged the court to remand the accused person at Mile 2.
Patrick Gomez rose and told the court that counts four and five should be removed from the charge sheet instead of transferring the case to the High Court. He argued that the court has the discretion to transfer the case to the High Court. He urged the court to strike out counts 4 and 5.
Abdoulie Sissoho made his representation for the 31st accused person and associated himself with the application made by his colleagues.
The presiding magistrate subsequently adjourned the case to 3 September, 2019, for Prosecutor Mballow to reply on points of law. She then remanded the accused at Mile 2.