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City of Banjul
Saturday, January 16, 2021

Court frees SMJ but…

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The court, presided by Magistrate Samsideen Conteh declared Mr Jaw a freeman after reviewing his no-case-to-answer application.  The magistrate said the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against Mr Jaw. He added that the accused was therefore not liable to open his defence and tell his side of the story. 

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Reacting, the state prosecutor, Mr Babucarr Drammeh said he was appealing against the decision of the court. Drammeh said: “Your worship, the prosecution is applying under section 285(E) of the Criminal Procedure Code to appeal against the verdict of the court.” Mr Jaw’s attorney did not object to the prosecutor’s application but reminded the court that it was a post judgment application and that his client was ‘as clean as he was before he was charged’. Lamin Camara submitted that the high court is reluctant to seize the liberty of the accused person simply because the state has appealed. He inquired from the court what benefit and sense would that make anywhere in the world when the accused has already been acquitted and discharged of all the charges against him. He added that it would be a mockery of the law, an infringement of the constitutional rights of Mr Jaw and a sham on dispensation of justice for him to be remanded in custody after a judgment has been delivered in his favour. Barrister Camara finally urged the court to grant bail to his client pending the appeal for a trial. 

The presiding magistrate consequently granted him bail in a sum of 400,000 dalasi and one Gambian to stand as a guarantor. It is recalled that Mr Sait Matty Jaw was accused of conspiring and failing to register a business as well as disobedience to statutory duty. He had since maintained his innocence. He was charged along with Seth Yaw Kandeh, a Ghanaian and Olufemi Erinle Titus, a Nigerian who both earlier pleaded guilty to all counts and sentenced to a fine by the court. 

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