Dec 31, 2009, 1:35 PM
The case was presided over by Magistrate Omar Jabang of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court.
Earlier, CPL 1542 Mendy, the prosecuting officer, paraded three witnesses, namely Sulayman Jarra, Momodou Conteh and Fatou Touray to prove his case.
Mamadou Salieu Jallow, the convict, at the closure of the prosecution’s case, opened his defence but did not call any witnesses.
In his judgement, Magistrate Jabang told the court that the issue for determination in the case was whether the prosecution had proven its case against the convict as required by the law.
He added that the law in their jurisdiction is that a person charged with an offence is presumed innocent until proven guilty and declared as such by a court of competent jurisdiction.
He further posited that the burden of proving the guilt of an accused is on the person who alleges that he has committed the offence.
In this case, he stated, the burden was on the prosecution since they preferred the charge against the convict, adding that the standard required from the prosecution in proving the guilt of the convict was proved beyond reasonable doubt.
He said the legal burden of proving every ingredient of the offence charged rested absolutely on the shoulders of the prosecution, adding that doubt does not mean proof beyond all doubts or absolute certainty.
He referred to some authorities to support his judgement.
Magistrate Jabang went on to say that where there exist doubts in the case of the prosecution, the same must be resolved in favour of the accused.
He stated that according to PW1, Sulayman Jarra had a noise in his vehicle. He was in his house and came out running, adding that his car was parked near a wall.
The convict squeezed himself between the car and the wall and had a plier in his hands. The convict put his head in the car and used the plier to take out the car tape.
He arrived and met the convict, and asked who he was, and the convict started speaking Fula. Sulayman’s wife came out after hearing a noise.
She shouted and people came out. The convict was taken to Manjai Police Station.
Magistrate Jabang said the testimony of PW2, Momodou Conteh, was that Sulayman Jarra’s car was parked behind his (Momodou Conteh’s) house.
He went to sleep and put his lights off and heard a noise behind his house.
Conteh came out and saw Sulayman holding the hand of the convict behind the car and went to assist Sulayman to take the convict from behind the car.
Conteh said the convict had a plier with him.
Magistrate Jabang, in his judgement, said the testimony of Fatou Touray, PW3, was the same as that of Momodou Conteh.
He further stated that the convict, in his defence, said he went to Manjai asking for the imam around the mosque and went to one compound and knocked at the door.
Sulayman came out and asked what he was doing speaking in Mandinka, and also Sulayman spoke Fula to him.
He told Sulayman that he was asking for the compound of the imam and Sulayman hit him on his head.
Sulayman’s wife came out and started shouting “thief” and people came and started beating him, and he told them not to beat him because he was only asking for the compound of the imam.
Magistrate Jabang posited that it could be rightly deduced from the evidence above that the convict squeezed himself between Sulayman’s car and the wall.
He put his head in the car and had the plier which he was using to take out a tape from Sulayman’s car.
“What more can all these facts say about the acts of the accused?” he asked.
He said that although the convict had not succeeded in taking out the car’s radio the above stated facts revealed that the convict had begun putting his intention into execution by squeezing himself between Sulayman’s car and the wall, putting his head in the said car and using the plier to take out the car’s radio.
Magistrate Jabang further stated that these acts were overt and so manifest that they could not be regarded as mere preparatory, adding that the convict’s acts had passed the preparatory stage when he put his head in Sulayman’s car and started using the plier in the car in order to take out the tape.
He told the court that from all the above, he was of the opinion that the actus reus of the offence of attempt had been proven beyond reasonable doubts by the prosecution. “After meticulous analysis of the evidence before me, I am of the opinion that the prosecution has proven this ingredient too and I shall so hold. The accused, Mamadou Salieu Jallow, is hereby found guilty and convicted as charged,” he declared.