Magistrate Elizabeth Dunn of Kanifing Magistrates’ Court Tuesday transferred the trial case of prominent Gambian rapper and activist, Killa Ace, along with 37 protesters to the High Court in Banjul.
The 37 protesters were accused of setting fire to Gorgi Mboob’s house, the Commander of Anti-Crime Unit in July following the death of Ousman Darboe, who was alleged to have been tortured while in custody.
The Civil Society Group ‘Gom Sa Bopa’ (Believe in Yourself) on Monday said the charge is false. Hence its president, Killa Ace, wasn’t present at the burning of the house.
The decision to transfer the case was based on the application made by the police prosecutor during last week’s proceedings.
“There is no dispute on the issue of the jurisdiction of the court to hear charges of arson and related offences since they are capital offences,” Dunn told the Court on Tuesday.
According to Magistrate Dunn, laws are clear that a magistrate court cannot hear charges on arson, demolition of building and related capital offences. It requires a Special Criminal Division of the High Court to deal with cases relating to capital offences, she says.
The magistrate orders that the suspects be put under custody pending their appearance before the High Court, but to be given medical care.
The High Court is currently on break until October. However, a vacation judge will be hearing matters of special importance. It’s unclear whether this case will be heard by the vacation judge or if the accused persons will have to remain in custody at Mile 2 until next month.
Meanwhile, armed police were dispatched outside the court on Tuesday to stop onlookers believed to be fans of artist-rapper Killa Ace which brought about some commotion.