Judge overturns magistrate’s freeing of drug suspect


Kalifa Bojang was set free by Magistrate Jackline Hakim in September noting that the prosecution did not establish that Bojang was in possession of the four bags containing suspected cannabis, after his lawyer, Ida Drameh made a submission of ‘no case to answer. 

Dissatisfied with the decision of the magistrate, the state appealed at the high in the same month for the judge to set aside the decision of acquittal and discharge of Mr Badjie and ordered him to open his defense.

Delivering the judgment on Wednesday, the judge, Emmanuel Amadi said Magistrate Hakim was wrong when she acquitted and discharged Mr Bojang. He said Hakim was wrong in her ruling that the prosecution did not establish the essential ingredients of the offence Mr Bojang was charge with.


Mr Bojang was arrested in 2012 and put on trial for being in possession of 85kg, 500g of marijuana in Penyem village in the West Coast Region. He pleaded not guilty. 

The prosecutor applied for Bojang to be kept in custody ahead of their appeal at the high court after he was freed. But Magistrate Hakim refused the request and ruled that Bojang ‘must’ be set at liberty forthwith. However, the narcotic officers at the court forcibly seized and took him away when he stepped out of the courtroom.

The chief prosecutor in his appeal said Magistrate Hakim “erred in law” when she held that the prosecution did not establish the ingredients of the offence. Mr Bojang was charged without stating which of the “ingredients” the prosecution failed to prove. 

“The learned magistrate erred when she went as far as analysing and evaluating the prosecution’s evidence at that stage of proceedings contrary to the established principles. The learned magistrate’s decision is unreasonable, unwarranted and cannot be supported with regard to the evidence adduced in court,” Saleh Barkun stated in his grounds of appeal. 

The judge upheld the prosecution’s appeal saying the prosecutor’s evidence against Mr Bojang, proved the ingredients of the offence he was charged with. “I hold that the decision of the magistrate to acquit and discharge the accused is wrong. As a result, I set aside the order of acquittal and discharge of the accused on a submission of ‘no case’ to answer. I therefore hold that the case be sent back to the Banjul Magistrates Court to be heard by another magistrate possibly by a principal magistrate for the respondent to enter his defence to the charge,” Justice Amadi said.