High Court adjourns 3 Years Jotna case for ruling on bail application

EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: Justice Amina Ceesay-Saho of the high court in Banjul, Tuesday adjourned the trial of eight members of 3 Years Jotna to Thursday for ruling on the bail application submitted by their legal team.

The eight members of the pressure group, including chairman are facing three-count charges of unlawful assembly, rioting after proclamation and rioters demolishing structures.

When the case was called in today’s hearing, state prosecutor Patrick Gomez applied for it to be adjourned for them to review the case file, justifying that they only received the file from the police on Monday.

The accused persons’ lead defence lawyer, Rachel Y Mendy, contested the transfer of the case to the high court, arguing that there are no proper charges levelled against their clients before the superior court. She applied for the court to grant bail to the accused persons, saying the state is attempting to delay the case, but that was denied by state prosecutor Gomez.

The presiding judge however went ahead and adjourned the case to Thursday for ruling on the bail application.

The eight accused, seven men and a women were first arraigned before the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court last week, but Magistrate P Sarr transferred the case to the High Court in Banjul, following an application made by the prosecution that the lower court lacks the jurisdiction to try the matter.

The group clashed with officers of the Police Intervention Unit in an anti-government protest calling for President Adama Barrow to respect the three years mandate agreement he had with coalition political leaders before the 2016 presidential elections and step down.

The protest, which sparked a wave of panic within Serrekunda and the surrounding environment, saw a heavy confrontation between members of the group and the paramilitary in a violent manner. Several people sustained injuries while scores were arrested, including four journalists who were release earlier on Tuesday.

Two radio stations were also shut down by the government claiming that they were reporting the protest with acts of inciting violence. The radio stations are still closed while the country’s journalist trade union, Gambia Press Union continue to pressure for the opening.

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