30 January 2013

Gambia: Couple Open Defence in Bakoteh Murder Case

Alhagie Lamin Bao and Amie Saine, first and second accused persons charged with the unlawful murder of Ebrima Jobe in Bakoteh, Monday opened their defence at the Special Criminal Court, presided over by Justice Emmanuel Nkea in Banjul.

The husband and wife are charged with the offence of causing the death of one Ebrima Jobe by beating him to death on 29th September 2012 in Bakoteh Layout, but they denied the charge.

The first to mount the witness box was the first accused, Alhagie Lamin Bao. He informed the court that he lives in Bakoteh Layout and that he knew the deceased, Ebrima Jobe. He recalled that between the hours of 4 and 5am, whilst asleep, he woke up as a result of the noise coming from the bathroom of his house and later found out that a thief broke into the house. "I woke up from sleep, went to the bathroom and found the deceased, Ebrima Jobe, trapped in the burglar proof of the window of the bathroom and I discovered that he was a thief. Part of his body was inside the bathroom, whilst the rest was hanging outside. I was shocked, terrified and dismayed at the sight of the boy in the burglar proof at the window and I called my wife to call people in the neighbourhood," Alhagie Lamin Bao explained to the court.

Further commenting on the circumstances of the alleged thief trapped in the burglar proof in the window, the accused said, while holding the two hands of the deceased to ensure that he did not escape, people came in numbers and they helped in pulling out the deceased from the trap.

According to the accused, PW1 was the first person to arrive at the scene and he held the hands of the deceased while he (the accused) went to dress up inside his room.

The accused mentioned Abubacarr Sillah and Mohammed Leigh as among those who assisted him pull out the deceased (alleged thief) from the burglar proof trap and this was done in the presence of others, about 30 people or more, and went to report the matter to the police station.

Bao said upon his return from the police station, he found out that the deceased was pulled out from the trap with his hands tied and he was tired.

According to him, PW1 Abubacarr Sillah took the deceased outside the compound where people were gathered and he (the accused) advised the boys outside not to beat the deceased (Ebrima Jobe).

He further explained that the next morning, he was invited to the Serrekunda Police Station for questioning, where he denied beating and slapping the deceased as alleged by PW1. The accused said he gave a statement at the police station and was detained with PW1.

The case was then adjourned to 31st January 2013 for cross-examination.

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