Fourth Accused Person In Koina Caste Trial Absconds

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By Lamin Fatty

One Banta Gumanneh, the fourth accused person in the long awaited criminal trial that emanated from the Koina caste scuffle of 2019, has jumped bail by traveling to Spain.

Justice Landing. M. Sanneh, the presiding judge at the Basse High Court made an order against Ebrima Gumanneh, the surety, to produce Banta Gumaneh who jumped bail or face the consequences.

The seven accused persons are Haggi Jabbi, Ousman Gumanneh, Omar Gumanneh,  Banta Gumanneh, Abdou Gumanneh, Saikou Lemeh Gumanneh and Dembo Touray, who are all considered as ‘free-born’ from Koina, are standing trial for arson after a clash between them and the so-called ‘slave’ class of Koina on Saturday 25th May 2019, resulting in injuries and the setting of houses ablaze. The accused persons also faced charges of unlawful and willful assault causing actual bodily harm.

On Monday 30th July 2019, they were granted bail by the Janjangbureh High Court Judge who is the same Judge who sits at the Basse High Court.

Ebrima Gumanneh, a resident of  Koina who bailed  Banta Gumanneh in the arson case, on Monday 30th January 2023 informed the Court that Banta Gumanneh had traveled to Spain. He told the court that Banta was living in the Kombos and had been contacting him about developments regarding the case. He said he called Banta on the 19th of January to inform him about the case but he was unreachable. That after his inquiry about the witness, he came to know that Banta has absconded and he (Ebrima) proceeded to report the issue to the police. Ebrima said if he had known that Banta would jump bail, he would not have bailed him.

Having heard from Ebrima, Justice Landing. M. Sanneh ordered the surety to produce Banta Gumaneh within one month or face the consequences. The court granted Ebrima bail for one hundred thousand dalasi (D100,000) with one Gambian surety who must be in the jurisdiction of the Court and must have  a valid national identity card.

The matter was adjourned to the 14th day of February 2023, for hearing.