By Dawda Faye
The criminal case involving Charles Lawson which was filed by ASP Momodou L. Jallow before Magistrate Mam Samba of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court on behalf of the Inspector General of Police took a U-turn on 10 June, 2019.
Charles Lawson was earlier charged with making or having in his possession paper or implements for forgery and purchase of forged bank notes. He, however, pleaded guilty.
The indictment filed by the prosecuting officer indicated that the accused, Charles Lawson, in the month of May, 2019, in the Kanifing Municipality of the Republic of The Gambia, was found in possession of the following items: colour printing machine, inks, glues, cartridges and cane spray which he used to make currencies.
Prosecutors alleged that the accused, in the same month and year and at the same place, was found in possession of D4,200, CFA210,000 and $2,400 including other incomplete monies in dollars, CFA, dalasis and Swedish Kroners being forged notes.
Since the accused pleaded guilty when the charge sheet was read to him, Prosecutor Jallow then read the facts. He told the court that on the 8th of May, 2019, the accused hired a taxi driven by one Bolong Fofana from Westfield to Kololi at the cost of D100.
He said that when they reached his destination, the accused dipped his hand in his pocket and pulled out two D50 notes and walked away. The driver, according to the prosecutor, checked the two notes and suspected them to be counterfeit. The driver then rushed to the Kololi Police Station where he reported the matter.
After the report, said the prosecutor, the driver left with two police officers in search of the accused. They were able to spot him from a distance not far from where he alighted. He was arrested and taken to the police station where a search was conducted on him and 29 pieces of D100 denomination and 10 pieces of D50 denomination were found on him, all suspected to be counterfeit.
He told the court that statements were obtained from witnesses concerned, and a case file was opened and forwarded to the CID office for further investigation. The CID officers escorted the accused to his residence to conduct a search, and during the search, $2,400, CFA210,000 and other incomplete monies in dalasis, CFA, dollars and Swedish Kroners, all forged notes, were found.
The accused was escorted back to the CID office at Kololi with all the monies recovered from his house. A request was sent to the Central Bank of The Gambia for examination and a certificate of all the monies found on the accused person and in his house was conducted at the bank. A certificate was issued in respect of the examination.
Prosecutor Jallow went on to say that after all the investigations, the accused was cautioned and charged with the offence of which he stood before the court.
But all of a sudden, on the 10th June, 2019, the accused changed his plea of guilty to not guilty. He was subsequently granted bail which he could not fulfill and was remanded in prison.
Prosecutor Jallow is expected to make a lineup of his witnesses on the 25th June, 2019, to tell the court they know about the case.