By Bruce Asemota
Fourteen residents of Kerr Mot Ali village have been granted bail by the High Court in Banjul, presided over by Justice Ebrima Jaiteh.
The court decision was premised on a ruling on an application filed on behalf of the detainees seeking the court to release them unconditionally.
The fourteen are Omar John, Ali Ceesay, Abdou Mbye, Ali Secka, Ali Ceesay, Musa Mbye, Hardim Ceesay, Mod Talla Secka, Modou Habib Secka, Abdoulie Sowe, Modou Habib Secka, Batch Samba, Sheikh Sey and Mustapha Ceesay.
Justice Jaiteh disclosed that holding charges are not permissible and the prosecution did not file any summons before the Court noting that the originating summons was brought pursuant to sections 19 (3) b (5) of the 1997 Constitution.
He added that the applicants were arrested and remanded in prison custody in the month of May 2022 and up to date and the State did not work on an opinion and has not filed a bill of indictment at the High Court of The Gambia; whereas, the applicants are still languishing in remand.
He said the applicants were detained and are still detained in custody for over 40 days without being presented to the court for trial.
He lamented that this span of time of over 40 days 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 the delay is unreasonable and unacceptable in a democratic society. The judge explained that the State failed to file an affidavit in opposition to provide factual statement(s) as to why the applicants are still not arraigned.
The trial judge said the applicants are presumed innocent until proven guilty citing section 24 of the 1997 Constitution.
Justice Jaiteh accordingly in exercise of his discretion granted the applicants bail in the following terms:
(1) Bail is granted to each of the applicants in the Sum of D100, 000.00 (One-Hundred Thousand Dalasis) each.
(2) The applicant must provide one Gambian surety who must depose to an affidavit of means in like sum.
(3) The surety shall deposit with the Principal Registrar of the High Court original copy of his or her biometric National Identity card.
(4) That the applicants shall require attending Court at each and every hearing of their trial if any charge is file by the State.
(5) The applicants are bind over to keep the peace and not to commit an offence pending the hearing and determination of the trial.
(6) This bail shall elapse after 60 days from the date of this order if the State fails to file a bill of indictment.