Gambia: 'Yakumba, Yusupha Jaiteh Have No Case to Answer'

14 April 2021

Defence Counsel Yankuba Darboe, who represented Yakumba Jaiteh and Yusupha Jaiteh, who were charged with assault and obstruction, on the 12th April, 2021, told the Kanifing Magistrates' Court before Principal Magistrate Isatou Janneh-Njie that the accused persons have no case to answer and should be acquitted and discharged. He humbly urged the court to grant their prayers.

When the case was called, ASP Jahateh rose and informed the court that he was representing the IGP along with Warrant First Class 2231 Gibba and Inspector Inna Jallow. Defence Counsel Yankuba Darboe announced his representation for the accused persons.

The defence counsel informed the court that he was making an application for a no-case submission under Section 166 of the CPC on the basis that the prosecution has failed to establish a prima facie case against the accused persons.

"At the end of the prosecution case, we are to determine whether there is a need for the accused persons to open their case. In criminal proceedings, the prosecution carries the burden to prove their case beyond all reasonable doubt," he stated.

He went on to say that charges brought against the accused are assault and obstruction. He further adduced that in support of their case, the prosecution relied on three witnesses and an exhibit. He added that the evidence presented in the court did not support the prosecution charges against the accused. At this juncture, he cited some authorities to support his argument. He also cited Section 60 of the Drug Control Act which, he said, defines what the prosecution can do and what they cannot do.

"Evidence presented before the court is that narcotic officers went on patrol around 6.30 p.m. It is only afforded to narcotic officers on duties when the prosecution was exercising their power to search. Therefore, the charge of Section 62 which stated obstruction does not apply to the case at all because the people claimed to have been obstructed under Section 62 were not exercising power accorded under Section 80. Charge of obstruction under Section 62 is illegal," he argued.

He told the court that obstruction was not made out based on the evidence before the court. He further submitted that the testimonies of the witnesses to be relied on were just a lie and inconsistent. He then cited the evidence of Ebrima Fadera who he said his evidence was crucial. He posited that Mr. Fadera claimed to have suffered from obstruction and assault. "In cross-examination by the defence, he contradicted his own evidence. He is a liar," he said.

He adduced that Mr. Fadera is not credible and he is unreliable. "Even after the evidence of Mr. Fadera that he was not wounded, PW 2 exaggerated his evidence," he revealed, citing the evidence of PW 2. Defence Counsel Darboe argued that it never happened that Mr. Fadera's ear was swollen as narrated by PW 2 who he said lied more than Mr. Fadera. "The evidence of PW 2 was not true. When we consider the evidence of Mr. Fadera, PW 2 to PW 3, PW 4 and PW 6, one appreciates the inconsistence and contradiction in their testimonies. In accounts of the witnesses, it is hard to tell who is actually telling the truth. They all testified on the same incident. It is not clear as to who did the pulling, dragging and who fell down. The whole story was cooked up," he adduced.

At this juncture, he cited the evidence of PW 5 and further said that Exhibit C did not mention anything about Mr. Fadera being assaulted. He submitted that the witnesses presented by the prosecution brought serious doubts as to their veracities. "Despite being confronted with overwhelming evidence of so many witnesses who witnessed everything that was alleged to have happened, the prosecution did not bother to seek simple evidence from an independent or neutral witness to support their case. It is our submission that the doubts should be resolved in favour of the accused," he posited. He said that based on this, he urged the court to declare the accused innocent.

"The evidence of the witnesses is so weak that no reasonable court can convict the accused persons, who cannot be asked to prove their innocence," he told the court.

ASP Jahateh then rose and summarised the evidences of all the prosecution witnesses. He is expected on the 28th April, 2021, to exhaust all the ingredients and elements of the offences charged to convince the court that the prosecution has established a prima facie case against the accused to warrant them to open their defence.

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