Court frees murder suspect

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the High Court in Banjul on Monday, 3 June 2019 acquitted and discharged one Alhagie Camara after the prosecution failed to prove the ingredients of murder charge against him.

Delivering judgment, the trial judge disclosed that the Accused person Alhagie Camara is charged with a single count of murder, contrary to Section 187 of the Criminal Code, Cap; 10:01, Volume 3, Revised laws of The Gambia 2009.

The prosecution alleged that the accused person on or about the 22nd day of July 2016 at Old Yundum, West Coast Region of the Republic of The Gambia, within this jurisdiction of this Honourable Court with malice aforethought caused the death of Modou Manjang by stabbing him with a knife.

Justice Jaiteh revealed that the accused person was arraigned before the court on the 6th day September 2016 and he pleaded not guilty to the offence of murder alleged by the prosecution and the prosecution called six (6) witnesses and successfully tendered Exhibit “C”, the autopsy report of the deceased.

The six witnesses: Abdulie Kujabi, Assan Jobe, Omar Bah, Ebrima Sallah, Omar Fatty and Dr. Frankling Perry all testified.

Justice Jaiteh disclosed that in a charge of murder, the prosecution must prove the following ingredients: That the deceased died, that the accused person caused the death of the deceased and that the death of the deceased was caused with malice aforethought.

He stated that the burden to prove a charge against an accused person lays on the prosecution and this burden does not shift from the prosecution through out the trial except in a few statutory offences of which murder is not one.

Justice Jaiteh pointed out that the alleged knife used in causing the death of the deceased was never produced and tendered into evidence before the court.

He asserted that the prosecution witnesses in their evidence in chief corroborated the testimony of the accused that he was rendering help to the deceased and there is no evidence on record to suggest to the contrary from what the accused stated.

He remarked that the alleged murder of Modou Manjang occurred in a crowd and no witness came forward to state that he or she saw the accused stabbed Modou Manjang with a knife.

He revealed that the prosecution’s case is based on circumstantial evidence. To support a conviction based on circumstantial evidence,

Justice Jaiteh pointed out that the prosecution did not led any credible, cogent and compelling evidence in support of the essential ingredient that the Alhagie Camara caused the death of the Modou Manjang.

The trial judge revealed that once the prosecution fails to establish the actusreus of an offence such as the instant case, and where there are doubts in the mind of the court as to whether or not it is the accused that committed the offence, such doubts should be resolved in favour of the accused.

Justice Jaiteh asserted that the entire evidence adduced by the prosecution raises strong suspicion that the accused is liable for murder but noted that the law is very straight that suspicion no matter how strong or high it may be can never be a basis for conviction, citing the case of IKO versus The State (2001) 14 NWLR.

Justice Jaiteh held that the prosecution did not prove their case with the certainty required by law, adding that where the prosecution fails to prove its case beyond reasonable doubts, the court must proceed with the discharge and acquittal of the accused person.

The accused person; Alhagie Camara was accordingly acquitted and discharged on the single charge of murder. 

Author: Bruce Asemota