By Bruce Asemota
Justice Ebrima Ba Jaiteh of the High Court has dismissed bail application for one Muhammed Jallow, who is charged with rape.
The Judge also ordered Bundung Police Station to subject Muhammed Jallow to COVID-19 test before being taken to the remand at Mile 2 Central prisons.
He said the fundamental hallmark of our criminal justice system is that a person accused of committing an offence is cloaked with a presumption of innocence but noted that the society also has a poignant interest in not only ensuring that the accused will appear for any scheduled court appearances, but also in protecting itself from criminals that present a very real danger to persons or property.
He asserted that Section 99(1) of the Criminal Code creates a presumption in favour of bail for offence that does not carry the punishment with death or imprisonment for life.
The High Court Judge said the alleged offence of rape of a minor at the age of thirteen years is not a bailable offence in The Gambia.
Justice Jaiteh stated that the state admitted that upon his arrest and first appearance at the Bundung Magistrates’ Court on 30 June 2020, he has been detained at the Bundung Police station because Mile Two Central prisons is not taking in new remand prisoners.
Justice Jaiteh disclosed that police stations are not detention centres or remand centers where alleged offenders should be detained for more than 72 hours.
He revealed that the suspect is still being detained at Bundung police station.
Justice Jaiteh accordingly refused and dismissed the application for bail and ordered that Muhammed Jallow be subjected to Covid-19 test with immediate effect.
Justice Jaiteh further ordered that the Director General of Mile Two prison to admit him with a negative Covid-19 test result.
He stated that in the alternative, if the suspect Covid-19 test results yield positive, he should be placed under secured quarantine until such time the that he would yield a negative Covid-19 test result and be transferred to the Remand Wing at Mile Two Prisons.