By Dawda Faye
Ali Cham alias Killa ACE, a musician, was on 13 January 2020, sentenced by Magistrate Joof of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court to a fine of D10,000 in default to serve one year imprisonment for prohibition of conduct conducive to the peace, D5,000 in default to serve six months imprisonment for assaulting a police officer and was cautioned and discharged for willful damage to property.
He was also ordered to pay a compensation of D2,500 to the police officer he assaulted in default to serve three months imprisonment. A compensation of D500 was ordered for him to pay for damaging a uniform of a police officer in default to serve one month imprisonment. All sentences would run concurrently.
In his judgement, the presiding magistrate told the court that the prosecution called five witnesses to prove their case and tendered some exhibits. He said that the convict testified and also tendered some exhibits. He further stated that the court treats everybody equally and ignores immunity.
He summarised the evidence of the prosecution witnesses, as well as the testimony of the convict. He went on to say that he perused the statements and there were some facts which were omitted, adding that the facts before the court were not challenged either by the prosecution or the convict. He adduced that the court would act on them.
He noted that the convict did not challenge that the black market at Serrekunda is a public place where stolen properties are sold. He also stated that the convict did not challenge that he said the police officers were dirty and insulted them. He added that the convict was found guilty of breaching the peace.
He revealed that the convict refused to be searched, citing the CPC to support his judgement. He told the court that the search conducted by the police was lawful, noting that the convict resisted arrest. The presiding magistrate further said that the convict admitted hitting Demba Bah, a police officer, in self defence.
At this juncture, he defined the meaning of self defence, stating that he who alleges must prove. He noted that the convict did not prove that he was first hit by Demba Bah. He told the court that the convict deliberately assaulted Demba Bah and was found guilty on this count.
He further adduced that the convict did not deny damaging Demba Bah’s uniform and was also found guilty of doing so. The court found the convict guilty of assaulting the police officer.
Prosecutor Oley Bobb, who threw her weight behind the Inspector General of Police, informed the court that the convict was a first-time offender.
Sheriff Kumba Jobe, who was representing the convict, in his mitigation, told the court that the convict is a young Gambian and has all the potentials to become a very respectful person in the country. He stated that the convict is not only an influential musician in The Gambia, but as well as a leader with large followers.
Counsel Jobe went on to say that the convict has spent all his life in promoting social cohesion through music and activism, adding that he has represented the country both nationally and internationally. “He is someone the whole world would like to have,” he submitted.
He revealed that during the 22 years of dictatorial regime of the country, the convict fought for the freedom that everyone is enjoying today. “The convict is a father, a husband, a brother and an uncle to many. He has a large dependent and responsibilities on his shoulder. Custodial sentence would create a huge burden on those who depend on him,” he told the court.
He urged the court to impose a shorter sentence and a very reasonable fine instead of a custodial sentence. He also urged the court to temper justice with mercy.