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City of Banjul
Sunday, March 7, 2021

Gambian woman cleared of racism charge in London

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Reporter Tom Foot wrote in the area newspaper, New Camden Journal:

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“Judge Stephen Solley instructed the jury mid-trial that there was “no case to answer”, court officials confirmed. Ms Njie said the arrest “has caused me 18 months of hell”. She added that she should not have been accused of racism towards a black police officer as “I am black myself”. 

Seventeen officers raided her home in Leverton Street in July 2012 acting on intelligence that her son was in possession of class A drugs. No drugs were found but during the commotion Ms Njie said she was handcuffed. She said: “I have never been in handcuffs in my life. I have never had a caution or any reason to be cautioned.”

Supporters of Ms Njie celebrated at Crossroads Women’s Centre last week, describing her as “petite, fragile and in ill health” and adding that the family had been “traumatised” by their treatment. Ms Njie is the cousin of Kebba Jobe, who died after a police drugs search at Camden Lock 10 years ago next May. Ms Njie’s sister Nelissa said: “We want our children to end up as productive members of society, not scared to trust in the system they want to be supporting.”

The Black Women’s Rape Action Project and Global Women’s Strike groups, both based in Camden, had urged the Crown Prosecution Service to drop the case. A spokeswoman for Legal Action for Women, which supported Ms Njie’s case, said: “These raids must stop, and the family must be fully compensated for what they have suffered.”

A Crown Prosecution Services spokesperson said that under regulations they only considered the victim when deciding whether to bring a racial abuse prosecution, thereby discounting whether Ms Njie was black. 

“We reviewed all the evidence in this case in accordance with the code for crown prosecutors and concluded that there was sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction on both counts of racially aggravated assault and obstructing a police officer. The judge decided that the defendant had no case to answer and ordered the jury to acquit. We respect his decision. We always strive to bring the strongest cases possible to court.”

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