‘Semester’ jail for killing wife

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The High Court in Basse, Upper River Region (URR), recently convicted and sentenced one Mamudou Oki Sissoho to 10 years in prison.

The presiding judge, Justice Simeon A. Abi, found the man guilty of manslaughter and attempting to commit suicide.

The particulars of offence states that Mamudou on 15 February 2014, in Nyamanar village, URR, unlawfully stabbed and slaughtered one Jarrie Damba to death with a knife and that on the same date and place, he (Mamudou) intentionally attempted to kill himself.

The trial judge revealed that the state called four witnesses and tendered ten exhibits, whilst the accused person testified as a lone witness in his defence.

He noted that there was no controversy about the successful proof of attempting suicide beyond reasonable doubt.

He further revealed that from the evidence on record, it was obvious that Jarrie Bamba died on 15 February 2014, at Nyamanar village and that the medical certificate of death and autopsy report, respectively, affirmed the death of Jarrie Damba.

The trial judge informed that on the question whether the death was caused by the act or omission of the accused, the evidence in the case has pinned the cause of death to the act of the accused.

The crucial question left for determination was whether the act of Mamudou which caused the death of Jarrie was with malice aforethought.

The trial judge pointed out that PW 1 and PW 3 who heard Jarrie crying for help rushed to the scene but they found out that she was already stabbed.

He said according to PW 3, he saw the accused stab himself and the accused himself testified that on the fateful day, while he was in the room with the deceased, he decided to confront her with the rumours he had been hearing about their daughter not being his child.

It was when the deceased confessed to him that the girl was in fact not his daughter that he lost control and stabbed the deceased and also stabbed himself.

The trial judge said the submission of the defence counsel that she alluded to the fact that only a loving husband like the accused would abandon everything in Spain where he has been for 12 years to come and live with his wife only to discover that he was not the biological father of their child.

She submitted that it was clear from the evidence of the accused that the act was done in the heat of passion caused by sudden provocation before there was time for his passion to cool.

Justice Abi revealed that having considered carefully the submissions of the defence counsel and the circumstances of the case, he was inclined to believe that it was not possible to fix an arithmetical calculation to the time frame between a provocation and the time for passions to cool.

The trial judge said in his view therefore, the accused person in this case was entitled to the defence of provocation as provided for in section 191 and that it was also the law that where an accused person was charged with one offence and it appears in evidence that he committed a different offence for which he might have been charged.

He accordingly found the accused person guilty of manslaughter on account of provocation in respect of count 1 and not murder; and guilty as charged for attempting suicide in respect of count 2.

In passing sentence, the trial judge said he was inclined to show mercy after listening to the allocutus on behalf of the accused, adding that the accused was barely 23 years as at the date of incident.

He revealed that the aura of youth still hangs over him and people in his age bracket are more than likely to bear hot blood on issues concerning the opposite sex.

He accordingly sentenced the accused person to a term of ten years in prison for manslaughter with hard labour and a term of two years imprisonment for attempting suicide.

The trial judge ordered that the sentence would commence from 26 February 2014, the day when the accused was first cautioned by the police after his discharge from hospital.

He finally ordered that both sentences to run concurrently. 

Author: Bruce Asemota