By Bruce Asemota
The Drug Law Enforcement Agency (DLEA) has been given 30 days to file charges against one Lamin Touray by the High Court in Banjul, Presided over by Justice Ebrima Jaiteh. Touray was also granted bail in the sum of D50.000.00 with one Gambian surety in like sum.
The High Court’s decision was premised on a ruling on an application filed by Touray’s legal counsel, Lamin K Mboge.
According to the motion filed before the court, Lamin Touray was arrested on suspicion of possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking and had been in custody for 40 days without being presented to court for trial.
Justice Jaiteh disclosed that the span of 40 days in detention without trial cannot be described as reasonable time as provided under section 24 (1) (b) of the 1997 Constitution and the delay for not filing charges against the applicant is unreasonable and unacceptable in a democratic society.
He further disclosed that the High Court is vested with power and discretion to grant bail in offences which do not carry the death penalty or life imprisonment arguing that the offence Lamin Touray is charged with is bailable.
Justice Jaiteh said the State refused to file an affidavit opposing the granting of bail to Lamin Touray as it could not provide factual statements as to why it could not arraign him.
Justice Jaiteh further said the court’s discretion in granting or refusing bail must be exercised at all time with regard to the facts and circumstances of each case.
He stated that there is no evidence that the applicant, Lamin Touray is charged with a criminal offence and that a court of law does not embark on speculations.
Justice Jaiteh asserted that, Lamin Touray is entitled to be released on conditions reasonably necessary to ensure that he appears for a trial at a later date.
He noted that considering section 24 (3) (a) of the 1997 Constitution which states that an accused person is presumed innocence until proved guilty.
He therefore granted bail to Lamin Touray accordingly.