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City of Banjul
Wednesday, October 27, 2021

British woman discharged (But remanded after state appeals)

Ms Buchanan is being tried on two counts of offences relating to judicial proceedings. She was accused of insulting Justice Emmanuel Amadi of the Special Criminal Court and his orderly and forcefully banging on his door. She was also accused of writing to the said judge quoting an executive directive for her case to be dealt with expeditiously while the judge was in fact doing so. 

When she was arraigned, she pleaded not guilty and was granted bail. But when the case resumed yesterday she changed her plea to guilty. Her lawyer, Moses Richards asked the court to fine her or caution, discharge and acquit her.  He pleaded that it is trite law that when a person accepts his or her criminal responsibility, he or she should be treated with leniency.

“The accused is a family woman who is suffering from sickness and has an elderly father who is currently hospitalised in the UK and is in dire need of her attention. Moreover, the accused has also contributed a lot towards the development of this country as she heads a lot of NGOS in the country among them was the distribution of books to various learning institutions including the university.” 

After listening to the plea for mitigation, Magistrate Hilary Abeke admonished and discharged Ms Buchanan. But public prosecution director, Hadi Saleh Barkum, challenged the verdict.

He contended that the state would appeal the decision and applied for Ms Buchanan to be remanded in custody pending the outcome of the appeal. 

This was upheld but Lawyer Richards questioned the legality of detaining her. “I want to make an application for the bail of my client. What benefit will the state, the DPP and the court gain for sending this woman to jail? The law must reflect on the society. For what purpose, what technical justice is this and for what purpose would it serve to send this woman to jail? This is a court of equity,” he queried. But the magistrate denied his request request and ordered Ms Buchanan to be kept in custody pending the outcome of the appeal.

 

By Baba Sillah

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