Gambia: Awa Sanyang Sent to RVTH for Age Test

Justice Emmanuel Nkea of the Special Criminal Court in Banjul, yesterday made an order for Awa Sanyang to be taken to the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital (RVTH) for age test. He also ordered for the verification of her birth certificate at the Birth Registration Centre with immediate effect.

The High Court Judge's decision came hard on the heels of a submission made by the Legal Aid defence counsel for the accused charged with the unlawful murder of her house mate in Brusubi to be transferred to the Children's Court for proper hearing. The accused, Awa Sanyang, is charged with the murder of Isatou Bojang sometime in September 2012 at Brusubi, which she denied.

During the last sitting, Mrs Odumbeh, the Legal Aid defence counsel, made an application for the case to be transferred to the Children's Court in Kanifing, based on what she called 'under age murder suspect' and the need to have her tried at the juvenile court in-line with the provisions of the Children's Act, Laws of The Gambia.

However, when the case came up yesterday, the judge made an order for the accused to be sent to RVTH for age verification and also for the registrar of the Kwinella Birth Registry to produce the original booklet of the conflicting birth certificate in his / her custody before the court.

"I will have this matter adjourned to 11th February 2013 for hearing of the motion. The accused shall continue in detention. In view of the conflicting birth certificates attached to the affidavits of both sides before this court, I shall order that the accused, Awa Sanyang be submitted for an age determination test at the RVTH tomorrow [Today, 6th February 2013]. In addition, the Registrar of Kwinella Birth Registry should also produce the original booklet of the conflicting birth certificates in his/her custody before this court on the next adjourned date," Justice Emmanuel Nkea said.

He then made an order for the prison authorities at the State Central prison at Mile II to be served with the order.

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