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City of Banjul
Saturday, February 27, 2021

Judge says no bail for man accused of attempted rape, robbery

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Six months after he was remanded by the Brikama Magistrates Court, his lawyer sought a high court bail pending his arraignment at the high court.

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Mr Sonko was arraigned in April this year on one count of attempted rape and one count of robbery. He is accused of using a knife and threatening one Chantel Vander Gouwe, a Dutch national and taking D825 from her. He is also said to have attempted to have carnal knowledge of her. He pleaded not guilty before the case was transferred to the high court.

Pushing for his bail application, Mr Sonko’s lawyer said it has been six months since the case was transferred to the high court and that the accused was entitled to bail. “The accused has a wife and two children. He is a family man and is breadwinner of his family. The accused has reliable sureties to stand for him. He has no criminal record and I submit that the accused be granted bail on reasonable conditions,” the lawyer argued.

But the chief prosecutor, Saleh Barkun, opposed the bail application saying armed robbery, with which the accused is charged with, is not a bailable offence. “The accused cannot be granted bail in this case because it attracts life imprisonment,” he said.

Ruling on the submissions, Justice Amadi said the application for bail was vague. “I don’t know him, where he lives and the work he does, who he is and his country of origin,” he said before turning down Mr Sonko’s bail application.


State asked to pay D2,000 fine 

Meanwhile, in a separate matter, Justice Amadi, has asked the state’s fourth witness, Mr Samsideen Kebbeh, to pay a cost D2,000 to lawyers representing Sheikh Tijan Sosseh, the former coordinator of the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Project.

The judge said this after the state prosecutor, Abubakr Mohammed asked for a stand-down as his witness was caught up in a traffic gridlock. Justice Amadi said he was not ‘happy’ at the witness’s failure to turn up in court adding that the witness must be “running his businesses”. The unhappy judge even asked the prosecution to close the testimony of Mr Kebbeh but one of Mr Sosseh’s lawyers, Lamin Camara, said he was not objecting to an adjournment. The case was then adjourned to November 4.

Mr Sosseh is on trial for economic crime and neglect of official duties. According to the prosecutors, Mr Sosseh failed to spend the 5.3 million euro agricultural grant from the World Bank, an omission which is detrimental to the Gambian economy and the welfare of the people. He pleaded not guilty.


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