Murder suspect to open defence

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the High Court in Banjul has called upon Francis Saine to open his defence in a murder trial after the said court dismissed a no case to answer submission.

The accused person; Francis Saine is charged with murder contrary to Section 187 of the Criminal Code, Cap 10, Volume 3, Laws of The Gambia.

The trial judge disclosed that the prosecution alleged that the accused person on or about the 11th day of November 2015 at around 4:00hrs in Kunkujang, West Coast Region, with malice aforethought caused the death of Eli Ndene by hitting her on the head knowing that death would be the probable consequences of his act and thereby committed an offence.

He revealed that the accused pleaded not guilty to the offence, the prosecution called four (4) witnesses and tendered the Voluntary Statement as Exhibit ‘A’, the cautionary statement as Exhibit B and the post mortem report as Exhibit ‘C’ respectively.

Justice Jaiteh narrated that upon the close of the prosecution’s case, the defence raised a no case submission and filed a written brief of argument on the 11th December 2018 to which State Counsel C.C. Njie filed a reply to the written brief of argument filed by the defence.

He stated that the law on no case submission is given by Section 238 of the Criminal Procedure Code, Cap 10:01. Volume III, Revised Laws of The Gambia 2009.

He explained that a no case submission has been defined in the case of Igabele v The State [2005] 1 NCC on page 61 to mean that there is no evidence on which the court would convict even if the court believed the evidence of the prosecution.

Justice Jaiteh disclosed that with the prosecution having concluded their evidence and closed their case, the defence argued that the prosecution has not provided sufficient evidence to sustain the charge or sufficient evidence that would safely lead to the conviction of the accused person hence they filed submission of no case to answer.

He said the important ingredient which constitutes the ‘actus reus’ of murder is “whether the deceased died”.

He noted that he examined Exhibit “C”, the post mortem report dated 10th November 2015 prepared by Dr. M.I.A. Khalil, professor and chief consultant pathologist at the Department of Pathology at Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital, Banjul, The Gambia.

He explained that the post mortem report establishes the cause of death of the deceased as head injury with hemorrhage of brain, adding that the prosecution has proved with the certainty required by law an essential ingredient/element of the offence of murder.

He revealed that the prosecution adduced that the deceased died which the defence has not rebutted and which the trial judge described as ground to proceed with the trial.

Justice Ebrima Jaiteh therefore declared that a prima facie case has been made against the accused person as there is evidence to prove an essential element of the alleged charge of murder.

He consequently called on Francis Saine to enter his defence forthwith.

Author: Bruce Asemota