By Bruce Asemota
Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the High Court in Banjul has ordered the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to file a bill of indictment within 14 days or unconditionally discharge one Salieu Jawara from custody.
Justice Jaiteh made this declaration last Wednesday 8th April, 2020 in a ruling on a bail application filed before the said court.
Justice Jaiteh disclosed that there is no bill of indictment before his Court and that the applicant was arraigned before the Basse Magistrates’ Court and remanded in prison since 19th of February 2020.
He further disclosed that the applicant was charged with other co-accused persons who are all minors and the applicant is a student at a Madrassa boarding school where the alleged incident occurred on the 6th of February 2020, where one Muhammed Jawara was said to have died, which led to the subsequent arrest and charge of the applicant.
Justice Jaiteh asserted that since his remand, the State has not filed a bill of indictment.
He further asserted that the applicant has been in custody for 49 days without being presented to the court for trial. Justice Jaiteh stated that this span of time of 49 days in detention without trial cannot be described as “reasonable time” as provided under section 24(1)(b) of the 1997 Constitution and the delay is unreasonable and unacceptable in a democratic society.
He subsequently ordered the State to file a bill of indictment within the next 14 days starting from the 10th of April 2020 or else the accused will be discharged.