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Supreme Court rules Yanks has no constitutional immunity

Jan 28, 2021, 2:52 PM | Article By: Sankulleh Gibril Janko

The Supreme Court of the Gambia presided over by the Chief Justice Hassan B. Jallow on Wednesday has ruled that former junta member Yankba Touray is not entitled to constitutional immunity from prosecution for the alleged murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay.

The court says reasons for the decision will be delivered by the court in due course while it directed the trial to proceed in the High Court.

Yankuba Touray’s defence counsel, Mr. A. Sissohor on the 12th of October 2020 had applied an oral appeal urging the High Court to discharge the accused on the grounds that as a junta member of the AFPRC from 1994 to 1997’ and pursuant to paragraph 13 (1), (3) (4) and (5) of the Second Schedule to the Constitution of the Republic of the Gambia, the accused enjoys immunity from such prosecution.

Upon hearing submission from both parties, the High Court pursuant to Section 127 (1) of the Constitution decided to refer the matter to the Supreme Court to determine:

“Whether the accused person is entitled to Constitutional immunity from prosecution of the murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay pursuant to paragraph 13 (1), (3), (4) and (5) of the Second Schedule of the Constitution of the Republic of the Gambia, 1997.

Ruling the case, Chief Justice Hassan B. Jallow said, “this court, having considered the oral submissions and written briefs of learned counsel for both parties and of the Amicus Curiae admitted by the court, finds and holds that the accused Yankuba Touray is not entitled to constitutional immunity from prosecution for the alleged murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay pursuant to paragraph 13 (1), (3) (4) and (5) of the Second Schedule to the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia 1997.

“Reasons for the decision will be delivered by the court in due course”

The Chief Justice said: “Accordingly, the High Court (Jaiteh J) is hereby directed to proceed with the trial of the accused person charged.

Former junta member Yankuba Touray is indicted for the alleged murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay in 1995 contrary to Section 187 of the Criminal Code Cap 10 Vol. 3 Laws of the Gambia.

He is currently on trial before the High Court on that indictment.

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