A high court judge in Banjul yesterday granted bail to rapper, Ali Cham alias Killa Ace and six other suspects, accused of arson, rioting and unlawful assembly.
The decision followed a motion of bail filed by a team of defence lawyers led by Antouman Gaye which was unopposed by the senior state counsel, AM Yusuf.
Justice Basirou Mahoney who presided over the case granted bail to the seven suspects each in the sum of D100,000 with Gambian sureties, after he was persuaded by the facts presented before him by the defence team which was not objected to by the state.
The trial judge further ordered the suspects who were not present in court to surrender all their travelling documents to the registrar of the court pending the determination of the matter.
Meanwhile 30 of the suspects were released on Tuesday following a request by the state for the withdrawal of charges against them.
The arrest and indictments of the suspects came after trouble erupted between the officials of the police Anti-Crime Unit and some market vendors over the death of one Ousman Darboe, who was alleged to have died shortly after his release from police custody.
Principal Magistrate Dunn Njie who earlier presided over the case referred the matter to the Special Criminal Division at the high court on the grounds that the lower court lacked the powers to hear and entertain charges such as arson and other capital offences which carry a maximum punishment of life sentence.
After citing Section 99 of the Criminal Procedure Code and other relevant law authorities to back her ruling, the trial magistrate subsequently transferred the case to the compet
ent jurisdiction of the high court which has the jurisdiction to hear and try the matter.
During the mentioning of the case at the lower court last week, the police prosecutor, Superintendent Mballow revealed that other suspects had escaped from custody following an order by the court for their remand at the State Central Prison of Mile 2.
However, Mballow explained that the police were able to rearrest seven of the suspects and charges were preferred against them.