Judge Advises State to Reconsider Application in Drug Case Involving 4

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Kemeseng Sanneh (Kexx)

Justice Francis Achibonga of the Banjul High Court has advised the State to reconsider the application made in drug case involving four (4) persons facing 15 criminal charges of money laundering and drug-related offences. 

The accused persons are Paulo Djabi, Nadine Pereira, Mamadu Neto Djabi and SecunaJabi. The case has been adjourned to enable the State (prosecution) to reconsider its application. 

They were previously granted bail by the Magistrate’s Court, but the Drug Law Enforcement Agency Gambia (DLEAG) did not comply with the court order to release them on bail. The State instead filed an application for injunction at the High Court for the bail order not to be enforced. They were successful as the high court accepted the application. 

Now the court is hearing the substantive appeal regarding the ruling of the Magistrate. When the case was called on Wednesday, 11 October 2023, Lawyer Sheriffo Tambedou announced representation for the accused alongside Lawyers L.S. Camara, Kaddijatou Jallow, and Combeh Gaye. Lawyer R. Jack appeared for the State. 

Justice Francis A. Achibonga raised concerns about the application submitted by the State. He noted that the injunction application may not be the appropriate course of action. In response, State Counsel R. Jack asked the court for more time to advise themselves.

Lawyer Tambadou expressed concern that his clients are still detained and he opined that they should be released. 

“We are here and ready to argue the application,” said Lawyer Tambadou, emphasising his readiness to proceed with the case.

Justice Achibonga highlighted that the court’s concern was whether an injunction was the appropriate application in this particular case. Since there were doubts about the proper application being before the court, the Judge deemed it appropriate to accord the State an opportunity to reconsider their approach.

Counsel Tambadou further expressed that the State should utilise the time provided to fulfil the requirements, considering their access to ample resources. Tambadou requested that the accused individuals be released on bail.

Justice Achibonga clarified that the issue of bail was not currently under consideration unless and until the court had reviewed the proper application.

“I have looked at the filed processes, and while the liberty of the accused persons is at stake, I believe it is necessary to adjourn the suit to enable the State to re-evaluate the processes filed before we proceed with the application. Therefore, the case will be adjourned to a shorter date,” said Justice Achibonga.

Consequently, the case was adjourned to 17bOctober 2023 to allow the State an opportunity to appropriately address the concerns raised and present the necessary application to the court.