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Special court frees murder suspect

Jul 3, 2012, 12:52 PM | Article By: Malamin L.M Conteh

The Special Criminal Court in Banjul yesterday acquitted and discharged one Lamin Daffeh charged with murder after the court said the prosecution had failed to prove its case with the certainty required by law.

Justice Emmanuel Nkea in delivering his judgment stated that the accused, Lamin Daffeh, was charged with murder.

The particulars of the offence stated that on 16 December 2010, at Madina Salam in Brufut village Kombo North District of the West Coast Region, the accused person with malice aforethought caused the death of one Lamin Dibba, by hitting him with a pestle on his head.

Justice Nkea added that the prosecution led evidence through six witnesses and tendered exhibits in support, while the accused testified and called one additional witness in his support.

There was evidence that the deceased was found lying on the ground, but there was no evidence that any of the prosecution witnesses saw the accused hitting the deceased with a pestle, as alleged.

None of them saw the accused at the scene of the crime, he said, adding that PW2 told the court that the deceased did not respond to his question, when he asked what was wrong with him.

“There was no evidence from the pathologist as to what kind of object might have caused the injury, and the pestle that was allegedly used to inflict the injury was not in evidence,” the judge added.

He said he has some doubts revolving around the cause of the injury and the participation of the accused in causing the said injury.

“Did the injury arise from the pestle, as alleged in exhibit B, or from the fall from a Paw-paw tree, as testified before,” the judge asked.

Still in his judgment, Justice Nkea asked whether it was the accused person who assaulted the deceased or was the deceased person assaulted by someone else.

These were questions which were not answered on record and, in addition, the report from the consultant psychiatrist at the RVTH confirmed that the accused was suffering from mental retardation, and incoherent speech.

“Under what mental condition did the accused make exhibit B.? This further created doubt in my mind,” the judge told the court.

He said he reached the conclusion that the prosecution had failed to link the cause of death to an act or omission of the accused person, and they also failed to prove the fourth element of the offence.

Justice Nkea added that he was bound to reach the conclusion that the prosecution had failed to prove its case with the certainty required by law, and consequently acquitted and discharged the accused person.