Manslaughter suspect discharged

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Justice Simeon A. Abi of the High Court in Banjul on 30 October 2017 acquitted and discharged one Bai Joof after the court upheld the defence submission of no-case-to answer filed before the court.

Delivering the ruling, the trial Judge said the suspect was charged with a single count of manslaughter and the prosecution called two witnesses and tendered two exhibits, the cautionary and voluntary statements of the accused person.

He revealed that at the close of the case for the prosecution, the defence opted to make a submission of no-case-to answer and filed a written brief of argument as ordered by the court. 

Justice Abi further revealed that PW1 was the police officer who recorded the cautionary and voluntary statements, adding that the accused in both statements denied committing the offence alleged.

The Judge further revealed that the key witness (PW2), Alhagie Touray, an eye witness to the incident who narrated how he went to the office of the accused on the day of incident and met the deceased quarrelling with the accused.

The trial Judge noted that the witness stated that the accused never hit the deceased and did not even fall on the deceased when they fell down.

Justice Abi said he agreed with the defence submission that the prosecution failed to prove the cause of death, since the only evidence on record was that the accused and the deceased grabbed each other by their shirts  and thereafter both fell down, with the deceased complaining of a fractured leg and the accused a fractured hand.

The Judge cited a Supreme Court of Nigeria case, adding that where there was absolutely no evidence against the prisoner, at the end of the prosecution’s case, the court was under a legal obligation to discharge him at that stage, for to do otherwise would be tantamount to placing upon the prisoner the onus of establishing his innocence.

Justice Abi held that the prosecution failed to lead evidence establishing a prima facie case requiring the accused to enter a defence.

Justice Abi accordingly upheld the submission of no-case-to answer entered by the accused person and he was acquitted and discharged on the charge of manslaughter.       

Author: Bruce Asemota