By Bruce Asemota
Justice Ebrima Ba Jaiteh of the High Court has given the state a timeline to formally charge one Foday Touray, who has been in custody for nine months without charge. The judge also granted him bail in the sum of D100,000.00 with one Gambia surety.
Justice Jaiteh ordered that the bail granted to the accused person shall elapse after December 2020 and if the state fails to file a bill of indictment, the accused person shall walk as a free man.
The judge revealed that Foday Touray was remanded on 23 December 2019 and up to date, the state did not file a bill of indictment whilst he was languishing in remand.
He said 9 months in detention without trial cannot be described as ‘reasonable time’ as provided under section 24(1)(b) of the 1997 Constitution of The Gambia and delay is unreasonable and unacceptable in a democratic society.
He further pointed out that by section 99 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code, his court is vested with the discretionary power to grant bail in offences, which do not attract the penalty of death or life imprisonment.
He asserted that the law on bail is that, the court in the exercise of its discretion on whether or not to grant or refuse a bail application must take into consideration the nature of the charge; the severity of the punishment; the quality of the evidence available, likelihood of the accused jumping bail or interfering with witnesses; the criminal record of the accused person if any and the likelihood of the repetition of the offence if bail were to be granted.
Justice Jaiteh stated that the court’s discretion in granting or refusing bail must be exercised at all times with due regard to the facts and circumstances of each case taking into consideration of Section 24(3)(a) of the 1997 Constitution that an accused person is presumed innocence until proven guilty.