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GAMBIA: THE HIGH COURT APPROVES THE STATE’S MOTION FOR THE CONTINUED DETENTION OF PAULO DJABI & OTHERS

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Paulo Djabi, Nadine Pereira, Mamadu Neto Djabi, and Secuna Jabi were ordered detained by the Honorable Justice Basiru V. P. Mahoney of the High Court of the Gambia. This order remains in effect until the Director of Public Prosecutor’s office’s motion for their custody is heard and decided.

The State is requesting that the High Court issue an order allowing Paulo Djabi and others to appeal the decision of the Magistrates’ Court to grant them parole.

In addition, the State seeks an interlocutory injunction from the court to maintain the status quo, ensuring that the Respondents (accused persons) remain in custody until the appeal is heard and decided.

The Motion on Notice is accompanied by a 15-paragraph affidavit administered under oath 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 contemplating 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. During his vacation, he granted permission for the application to be heard.
In addition, the Honorable Justice Mahoney noted that the Applicant (State) has raised a substantial issue for consideration by the appellate court in regards to the learned Magistrate’s ruling. He emphasized the possibility that the appeal would be rendered moot if the respondents (accused) are not prevented from implementing the provisions of the contested ruling.

“The indictment exposes severe offenses, and the issue of the magistrate’s authority in granting the order is raised. 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 a similar application filed by the Applicant. “The file shall be referred to the Honorable Justice for assignment to a substantive judge for continuation,” Ordered Honorable Justice Mahoney.

The honorable Justice Mahoney stated that the return date for the motion on notice is Thursday, October 5, 2023.

Context of the case

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

The defendant pled not guilty to all charges.

On September 14, 2023, Magistrate Jabang granted bond to the defendants after their attorneys requested it. Despite the court’s decision to grant parole, the DLEAG re-arrested and detained the accused.

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