By Bruce Asemota
Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the High Court in Banjul has awarded D200,000 as damages to one Alhagie Sankung Sillah and D50,000 as costs for unlawful disruption of hiseducation and his legal right.
Delivering judgment Thursday in a crowded court room, Justice Jaiteh disclosed that Alhajie Sankung Sillah was accused of reckless and dangerous driving and without proper authorization on the school premises on the 5th February 2019 during a school function.
It was also alleged that he made an offensive hand gesture at a senior member of staff.
Justice Jaiteh said Alhajie Sankung Sillah was suspended and then expelled.
The trial Judge said the basis of his suspension was on allegation of dangerous driving, spinning of car tires and blowing a lot of dust.
Justice Jaiteh further said that there was no material evidence that he was given an opportunity to be heard before being suspended and ultimately expelled despite the fact that the school has a disciplinary committee responsible for dealing with serious disciplinary cases.
This, the Judge stated, is tantamount to a gross violation of the principles of natural justice.
“According to the school’s own code of conduct at Article 4(4) the Headmaster has no authority to suspend a student without the recommendation of the Disciplinary Committee and it is evident in Article 4(5) of the school handbook that the Head of the school does not have the power and authority to expel a student from school; such power is vested in the School Board of Governors on the recommendation of the Disciplinary Committee,” Justice Jaiteh said. He added that the headmaster of the school, William Arthur who made allegations against the applicant, usurped the power of the Disciplinary Committee as well as the Board of Governors of Marina International School.
Justice Jaiteh stated that the boy’s suspension and expulsion from Marina International School was carried out in manifest breach of the principle of natural justice.
The Judge ordered that Alhagie Sankung Sillah is at liberty to resume his schooling at the Marina International School forthwith and attend classes with his schoolmates without any interruption or hindrance by the school authority.
Justice Jaiteh then awarded general damages in the sum of D200, 000.00 (Two Hundred Thousand Dalasis) for the unlawful disruption of his education and legal right and a cost of D50, 000.00 is awarded in his favour against the school.