Justice Minister proffers amendment in criminal offences bill to replace cited nonexistent section

7

By Momodou Jarju

The Gambia’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Hon. Dawda A Jallow, has proposed the amendment of Clause 11 sub-section (3) of the Criminal Offences Bill 2020 under Intoxication, because it referred to a section of the Criminal Procedure Act that’s nonexistent. He made the proposal during the consideration stage of the aforesaid bill at the national assembly during a plenary session on Monday in Banjul.

“Honourable Speaker, we noticed the same clause 11 (3), if you look at it, there is a cross-referencing, referring us towards the end, section 188 of the Criminal Procedure Act. We just checked, under the current Criminal Procedure Code we are using, there is nothing like section 188. We checked it appears the drafters are trying to make reference to the counterpart of this bill, which is the Criminal Procedure Bill, which is before you, but not yet enacted,” the minister noted.

He further said even the cross-referencing missed the point because it didn’t refer to the right section, and as such, he proposed an improvement, saying they understood what the drafters were trying to do.    

Below is clause 11 sub-section (1, 2, & 3) as drafted in the bill:

(1) Except as provided in this section, intoxication shall not constitute a defence to any criminal charge.

(2) Intoxication shall be a defence to a criminal charge if by reason thereof, the person charged at the time of the act or omission complained of, did not know that such act or omission was wrong or did not know what he was doing and the-

(a) state of intoxication was caused without his or her consent by the malicious or negligent act of another person; or

(b) person charged was by reason of intoxication insane, temporarily or otherwise, at the time of such act or omission.

(3) Where the defence under sub-section (2) is established in a case falling under paragraph (a) thereof, the accused person shall be discharged, and in a case falling under paragraph (b) thereof, the provisions of section 188 of the Criminal Procedure Act shall apply.”

Meanwhile, Minister Jallow proposed sub-clause 3 to stand for as part of the Criminal Offences Act, 2024, in the following amendment: “Where the defence under sub-section (2) is established in a case falling under paragraph (a) thereof, the accused shall be discharged, and in a case falling under paragraph (b) thereof, the procedure outlined under the Criminal Procedure Law with respect to an accused person found to be of unsound mind shall apply.”

The Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Fabakary Tombong Jatta, inquired from the minister for the purpose of clarity.

“If we understand you, the first one [sub-clause 3(a)] you talked about is if the intoxication or whatever is induced, meaning somebody did it to somebody, then you discharge. And this one [sub-clause 3(b)], if intoxication, even by yourself, but it made you insane, it’s no more intoxication,” Speaker Jatta asked.

Minister Jallow added that the “defense of insanity will come, and there’s a procedure for that”. The plenary thus approved his recommendation.