By Bruce Asemota
The High Court in Banjul presided over by Justice Ebrima Jaiteh has dismissed a civil suit filed by one Amadou Gajigo, a cattle farmer and a butcher against the National Livestock Owners Association, Bakary Cora, the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General.
Amadou Gajigo sought an order to direct the respondents to stop infringing on his fundamental rights and wanted the court to make an order for compensation of D300, 000.00 as specific damages for unlawful arrest and detention.
Delivering judgment, the trial judge disclosed that the court was tasked as to whether Amadou Gajigo’s fundamental human rights were breached by the respondents and whether his arrest and detention were lawful.
Justice Jaiteh disclosed that Counsel for the applicant had submitted that with the instruction of the National Livestock Owners Association, the police continually arrested and detained the Applicant several times for carrying out his lawful business.
The trial judge further disclosed that the applicant lawyer submitted that the applicant was accused of stealing cattle from Senegal and in the process of arresting him, they seized his meat and he lost D300, 000.
Justice Jaiteh said Counsel for the applicant argued that every citizen has a right to report to the police where he believes that a crime has been committed or a crime is about to be committed and that he was constantly harassed by the respondents using the police who would forcefully use force and stop him from selling meat without any legal basis but on mere allegation based on jealousy and designed to prevent him from running his business and earning a living.
Justice Jaiteh disclosed that as to whether the arrest and detention of the Applicant was lawful, his lawyer submitted that Bakary Cora being an officer of the National Livestock Owners Association, reported the Applicant to the police, who seized his license on the allegation that he stole cattle, but he was never charged nor convicted of any crime and the court has discharged and acquitted the Applicant on the basis that he has no case to answer.
Justice Jaiteh revealed that counsel for the 1st and 2nd Respondents in his brief of argument, formulated five (5) issues for determination.
Justice Jaiteh said the Counsel for the 1st and 2nd Respondents submitted that the Applicant did not show any evidence or cause of action against the 1st and 2nd Respondents that will warrant any court of justice to grant the reliefs sought.
Justice Jaiteh disclosed that after careful perusal of the exhibits attached to the affidavits in opposition it is clear that a criminal complaint was lodged to the police against the Amadou Gajigo of having committed an offence and the police have the power to arrest and detain the Applicant on such reasonable suspicion of having committed an offence and such arrest,
Justice Jaiteh disclosed that the Respondents provided sufficient evidence in their affidavit in oppositions to justify reason to arrest and detain the Applicant.
Justice Jaiteh said the applicant was arrested, detained and prosecuted before the Basse Magistrates’ Court in accordance with a procedure permitted by law.
He further said that he has no difficulty in agreeing with the submission of the Respondents’ Counsel that the applicant was not arrested and detained unlawfully and there is no violation or infringement of the fundamental rights of the Applicant as the Applicant was investigated, arrested and prosecuted according to law.
Justice Ebrima Jaiteh stated that with regards to whether Amadou Gajigo is entitled to compensation of D300, 000.00 as special damages.
He pointed out that where an applicant specifically alleges that he suffered special damages, he must adduce evidence to prove it.
He revealed that the method of such proof is to lay before the court concrete evidence demonstrating the loss or damages, he has suffered so that the opposing party and the court as umpire would readily see and appreciate the nature of the special damages suffered and being claimed.
Justice Jaiteh stated that the Applicant did not attach any exhibit to the affidavit in support of D300, 000.00 and as such said claim was not proven.
Justice Jaiteh said he found the evidence led on the issue of compensation insufficient and therefore the Amadou Gajigo is not entitled to compensation of D300, 000.00.