By Omar Bah
The eight leaders of the banned Three Years Jotna Movement, who are slammed with three counts of criminal charges including one count that attracts life imprisonment, will spend at least another two days at Mile 2 as the High Court sets Thursday for their bail hearing.
Abdou Njie, Ebrima Kitim Jarju, Sheriffo Sonko, Hagi Suwaneh, Fanta Mballow, Karim Touray, Yankuba Darboe and Muctarr Ceesay are charged with unlawful assembly, rioting after proclamation and rioters demolishing structures.
At yesterday’s sitting both the defence and prosecution lawyers squared off over the bail application.
The presiding judge will decide on the bail applications tomorrow.
Meanwhile one of the outspoken sympathisers of the Jotna group, Bakary Camara alias Camaraba was seen with the eight accused persons at the High Court. It is not yet known what crime he had been charged with.
The eight arrived at the High Court yesterday smiling, waving and displaying three fingers, a symbol of their struggle for President Barrow to step down after three years.
When the case was called, state prosecutors led by Patrick Gomez quickly moved to apply that the case be adjourned to allow them time to review the file. They insisted that they received the file of the case on Monday.
However, the defence team led by Rachel Y Mendy rejected any idea for the case to be adjourned whiles arguing that there were no proper charges before the High Court against the accused persons.
Lawyer Mendy submitted that there is nothing before the court that should warrant an adjournment.
The senior lawyer then moved to ask the court to grant bail to the accused persons after she accused the state of attempting to delay the case.
“The state cannot be allowed to abuse the process of this honourable court,” Mendy added.
But Gomez rejected the defence’s argument and called on the court not to grant bail to the accused persons.
“We humbly submit that the state has no intention to delay this trial and we urge the court not to grant bail to the accuse persons,” Gomez argued.
He argued that one of the offences which the accused persons were charged with is not bailable.
“It is the position of law in The Gambia that where offences attract life imprisonment or death sentences, bail ‘shall’ not be granted. In respect to the argument that the Supreme Court set a precedent by granting bail in respect to offences that attract life in jail or death sentences, there is no precedent set by the Supreme Court,” he added.
Gomez said the Henry Gabriel case is quite different with the case before the high court.
Meanwhile, after carefully listening to the arguments of the lawyers, the trial judge Amina Ceesay Saho adjourned the case to Thursday 6 February for ruling on the defence’s bail application.