David Fulton and Rachel Fiona, the British couple that has been facing trial at the Banjul Magistrates Court, last Wednesday, made an apparent U-turn, changing their plea from not guilty to guilty on the sedition charge preferred against them.
When the case was called, the defense counsel asked for the particulars of offence to be read out to them. This was done by the prosecuting officer, Yahya Touray, after which the first accused person, David Fulton, changed their plea from not guilty to guilty. This was followed by an application submitted by Lawyer Antoumane Gaye, the defense counsel, for David Fulton to read a statement.
In his statement, the first accused person apologized to the president of the Republic and the entire people of The Gambia for what they have done. Fulton said: "We are apologizing to the people of The Gambia, which we see as our second home and the president in particular for what we have done.
We have really regretted what we have done and will therefore extend our apologies to each and every Gambian." In his mitigation plea, the defense counsel stated that his clients had been staying in the country for years, adding that they have been doing a lot of things towards the development of education in the country. He said the accused have pleaded guilty and have learnt a lot of lessons during their detention.
He then appealed to the court to temper justice with mercy and not to impose a custodial sentence on the accused persons. At that juncture, the case was adjourned to Tuesday 30 December, 2008 for judgment. The couple has not been able to meet their bail conditions and, under the country's law, could face up to a year in prison or a fine of 50,000 dalasis (£1,256).