Monday, December 4

High Court Grants State’s Motion, Keeps Paulo Djabi & Others in Custody

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Pablo Jabbi
By Landing Ceesay

Hon. Justice Basiru V. P. Mahoney of the High Court of the Gambia has issued an order for the detention of Paulo Djabi, Nadine Pereira, Mamadu Neto Djabi, and Secuna Jabi. This order is in effect until the state’s motion for their custody, filed by the Director of Public Prosecutor’s office, is heard and decided upon.

The State is requesting that the High Court issue an order permitting the appeal against the Magistrates’ Court’s decision to grant bail to Paulo Djabi and others.

Additionally, the State is seeking an interlocutory injunction from the court to maintain the current situation, ensuring that the Respondents (accused persons) do not act on the terms of the bail and remain in custody until the appeal is heard and decided.

The Motion on Notice is accompanied by a 15-paragraph affidavit sworn by Yassin Senghore a Legal Clerk at the Attorney General’s Chambers and Ministry of Justice.

In his ruling on the motion, Hon. Justice Mahoney stated that after considering the Applicant’s ex-parte motion filed on September 15, 2023, along with the supporting Affidavit and exhibits, including the contested Ruling, charge sheet, and Notice of application, he found the matter to be urgent. He granted permission for the application to be heard during the vacation period.

Furthermore, Hon. Justice Mahoney noted that the Applicant (State) has presented a substantial issue for consideration at the appellate court concerning the Ruling made by the learned Magistrate. He emphasized the risk of rendering the appeal futile if the respondents (accused persons) are not restrained from implementing the terms of the disputed ruling.

“The charge sheet reveals serious offences and the issue of jurisdiction of the Magistrate in granting the order is raised. In this circumstance, I am of the view that the application has merit and ought to be allowed pending the hearing and determination of a similar application on notice.

“Consequently, an interim injunction is hereby granted to maintain the Status quo such that the Respondents (accused persons) are not to act on the terms of the bail and are to remain in custody pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed by the Applicant. The file is to be referred to the Hon. Justice for assignment to a substantive judge for continuation,” Hon. Justice Mahoney Ordered.

Hon. Justice Mahoney said the motion on notice is given a return date of Thursday 5th October 2023.

Background of the case

On September 13, 2023, Paulo Djabi and others were arraigned before Magistrate Jabang on fifteen counts of possession of prohibited drugs, dealing in prohibited drugs, and conspiracy, all contrary to the Drug Control Act Cap 13:05 Vol. II Revised Laws of The Gambia, 2009, and money laundering, contrary to the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating of Terrorist Financing Act of the Gambia 2012.

The accused pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

On September 14, 2023, Magistrate Jabang granted bail to the accused persons after their lawyers applied for bail. However, despite the court’s grant of bail, the DLEAG re-arrested and detained the accused persons.