Paulo DJabi, one of the accused
By Landing Ceesay
The State’s prosecution team in the case of Paulo Djabi and three others has asked the court for more time to put their house in order.
To provide some context, in September, the State submitted an application to the High Court, seeking to appeal the decision made by the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court that granted bail to Paulo Djabi and his co-defendants.
Furthermore, the State also filed a motion with the High Court, seeking an injunction to halt the proceedings of the case and to order that Paulo Djabi and his co-defendants be held in custody until their appeal is heard and decided.
Subsequently, Hon. Justice Mahoney of the High Court approved the motion, leading to a suspension of the proceedings at the Magistrates’ Court.
Today, as the case resumes to consider the appeal challenging the Magistrates’ Court’s decision to grant bail to Paulo Djabi and others, Counsel R. Jack, who represents the State, notified the court that they require additional time to review and advise themselves on the appeal before the court.
“We will need time to advise ourselves on the appeal before the court,” Counsel R. Jack for the state said in court.
In response, the lead Counsel for the accused persons, Lawyer Sheriff Tambedou, objected to the request of the state counsel.
“They (State) have time to advise and ready themselves because they are the ones who filed the application. We are here, and we are ready to proceed with this matter. Our clients are in their custody. My lord can make orders now affecting this application,” Counsel Tambedou told the court.
“The court should also exercise its discretion cautiously,” Hon. Justice Acheambonga replied to Counsel Tambedou.
Counsel Tambedou argued that neither a stay of injunction nor a stay of execution filed by the State is appropriate in the matter.
“This application was filed on the 15th of September, almost a month ago. This is the state, they have enough resources. They have ample time to proceed with this case. My lord, you have the power to release our clients on bail until the hearing and determination of this application,” Counsel Tambedou argued.
Judge Acheambonga insisted on giving the prosecution time to put their house in order before making a decision on the matter. He then granted them time to review the processes they had filed.
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.