Fourteen supporters of the United Democratic Party (UDP) were yesterday granted bail by the Special Criminal Court in Banjul presided over by Justice O. Ottaba.
The accused persons were Bakary Jammeh, Kaddy Samateh, Lele Bojang, Alakali Sanneh, Yaya Fatty, Muhammed Singhateh, Kemo Touray, Bakary Marong, Buba Mass, Alagie Saidykhan, Tombong Njie, Modou Sarr, Sheriff Suma, and Lamin Dampha.
They are being tried on a seven-count charge of conspiracy to commit felony, unlawful assembly, and riot, incitement of violence, interfering with vehicles, holding procession without permit and disobeying an order to disperse.
They were granted bail of D100,000 with a surety each, who must be a Gambian and must enter into recognisance to avail the presence of the applicants in court. They should also depose to an affidavit of means.
When the matter was called, B. Jaiteh appeared for the state, whilst A.N.D. Bensouda, H.S. Sabally, R.Y. Mendy, B.S. Touray, Y. Senghore, C. Gaye and A. Njie appeared for the applicants.
Delivering his ruling on the bail application in a packed courtroom, Justice Ottaba said it was certain in law that an application for bail might be brought as many times as possible, if a new change of facts and circumstances arise.
He said it amounts to an abuse of court process when a repeated bail application is brought to the court without any change in facts and circumstances.
He added that the applicants were refused bail because they posed a threat to national security, but he now agreed with learned counsel that if they were not released on bail it would pose threat to the peace and stability of the country based on the prevailing circumstances in the country.
The judge said he would, therefore, exercise his discretion and grant the applicants bail taking into account that the charges were a misdemeanour.
They were granted bail accordingly, and the matter was adjourned until 22 December 2016.
Meanwhile, UDP supporters led by the deputy party leader stormed the court house with a huge crowd to await the verdict of the court.
After the ruling of the court granting the applicants bail, they were seen laughing and calling out Allah’s name aloud, and saying they were very happy that things had “turned out this way”.
Some of them said they had been longing for this day, when they would be free to support and belong to any party of their choice.
After the court sitting, the UDP team led by the deputy party leader was seen doing the paper work to secure their freedom, and re-unite them with their family members.
Source: The Point