#Article (Archive)

High court frees murder suspect but...

Jul 26, 2011, 12:52 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

The Special Criminal Court yesterday acquitted one Rameh Trawally who was standing trial for murder, after it ruled that the prosecution’s case "lacks evidence".

"I hold that the prosecution had woefully failed to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt that Rameh Trawally was culpable for the offence he stands charged," presiding judge Joseph Ikpapa said in delivering judgment.

Trawally was accused of murdering one Ahmed Faal by chopping his neck from his body with a cutlass in June 2009, at Sanyang village in the Kombo South district of West Coast with malice aforethought.

However, following his acquittal by the high court judge, prosecutors handling the case told the superior court that the state would appeal against the acquittal of Trawally, and thus urged the court to remand him in custody pending the determination of the appeal.

Defence counsel Uzoma also told the court to exercise its discretion not to detain the acquitted person in custody, but instead grant him bail pending the said appeal put forward by the state prosecutor.

Counsel cited the criminal procedure code to support his argument, while urging the court to grant the acquitted person bail pending the appeal.

The judge after hearing from both sides, granted bail to the acquitted person, set at D2 million with one Gambian surety who can show evidence of ability to meet the bail conditions.

The bail condition further stipulated that Trawally should be reporting to the assistant registrar, and his surety must also deposit his or her title deed with the court registrar.

Trawally, said to be a Malian national, can only be a free man if he fulfills his bail condition of D2 million.

The trial judge in his judgment stated that the onus lies on the prosecution to prove the element of truth in their case, adding that after going through the evidence of the prosecution witnesses, he was not convinced that the evidence adduced had linked the acquitted person to the offence charged.

"Both the prosecution and the witnesses agreed that there was no evidence in the death of the accused," the judge stated.

The prosecution during the course of the trial called 12 witnesses and tendered multiple exhibits, including a cutlass, two trousers, T-shirt, red cap, sketched plan of the scene of the crime, death medical certificate, postmortem report, photograph of the deceased and scene, as well as the cautionary and voluntary statements of the acquitted person.

Life Imprisonment for Rapist

Meanwhile, in a separate development, the Special Criminal Court also on the same day convicted and sentenced one Lamin Krubally to life imprisonment, after the court found him guilty of raping his step-daughter.

In this case, Justice Joseph Ikpala said the prosecution had proven their case beyond reasonable doubt that the convicted person was guilty as charged.