By Own Correspondent – The lower court in Banjul yesterday granted bail of D500 to Moses B. Johnson Richards, a former High Court judge, with one Gambian surety who must have two landed properties within the Greater Banjul Area.
The bail condition further stipulated that the accused person should deposit all his travel documents with the assistant registrar of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court.
Moses Richards was arraigned on 31st December 2010 and charged with two counts of giving false information and sedition.
He vehemently denied the charges, and was subsequently remanded in custody until yesterday, when he was granted bail.
The alleged offence on count one read that Moses B Richards Johnson on16 November, 2010, at Banjul knowingly gave false information to the Sheriff Division of the Gambia to wit: that His Excellency the president of the Gambia has ordered the stay of execution of the writ of possession in civil suit No349\92B NO.28 with intent to cause the sheriff of the Gambia to stop the execution of the said writ of possession.
On count two stated that on 16th November, 2010, at Banjul, published a letter to the Sheriff of the Gambia, stating that his Excellency the president of the republic of the Gambia had ordered the stay of execution of a writ of possession in civil suit No 394 B NO28, with intent to bring into contempt the person of the said president.
At yesterday’s court proceeding, state counsel Simeon Abi informed the court that the state could not proceed with the case, because all its witnesses were not in court.
He, therefore, applied for an adjournment to enable them to call their witnesses.
Richards was represented by senior counsel Surahata Janneh, who informed the court that the whole Bar was there to witness the proceedings.
He told the court that the defence was not opposed to the application by the state counsel for an adjournment, but noted that the case was first mentioned on 31st December 2010, when the accused was refused bail and was remanded in custody.
It was very sad, said the defence counsel, because the charge before the court so far should not warrant the accused person to be sent to remand custody.
He further added that the accused person should not be sent to remand, because he was at one time an Honourable Judge at the High Court of the Gambia, as well as a magistrate, and now a legal practitioner and a member of the Bar.
“Remand is meant for those accused persons who committed serious offences, and they are likely to abscond or serious offences like murder,” he continued. The accused person is a legal practitioner and a member of the Gambia Bar Association, the counsel pointed out.
Subsequently, Principal Magistrate Emmanuel Nkea granted the accused bail, and adjourned the case until 10th and 11th January 2011.
Meanwhile, in our Monday issue regarding the same case, we inadvertently stated that Moses Richards was remanded in police custody. We have learned from the court that Moses Richards was, in fact, remanded in custody at the State Central Prison Mile 2.
We apologise for the error.