By Yusef Taylor
Two suspects charged with the murder of a University of The Gambia student Kebba Secka appeared before Justice Sainabou Wadda-Ceesay at Banjul High Court yesterday. First accused Lamin Trawally was charged with murder and the second accused Sulayman Kijera was charged with accessory to murder. Both security officers pleaded not guilty.
The Poliso magazine press release of 19th July 2019 reported that Kebba Secka was killed on Tuesday 9th July 2019, between 10pm and 11pm around Palma Rima Junction after he was stabbed with a knife.
The presser detailed that the suspect was identified as First-Class Constable Lamin Trawally of the Gambia Police Force. Lamin Trawally admitted he and his colleague attempted to search the Kebba which led to a scuffle.
Initially, only one suspect was charged according to the press release, however, at the commencement of the court case two accused were charged. The second suspect was first mentioned by a family representative of Kebba Secka who demanded that there was a second suspect.
According to the family representative, Yusupha Njie, there was a concern “that the police will use Lamin Trawally as a scapegoat and let the second suspect go free”.
“Where is the second guy? We’ve been told he’s been arrested, has he been released? Has he been charged? Nobody knows,” he asked. It’s now public knowledge that the second suspect is Sulayman Kijera.
Accused denies statements obtained voluntarily
The prosecutor called the first witness, police officer Lamin Sabally who explained he obtained the voluntary and cautionary statements from Trawally.
The prosecuting team proceeded to tender the statements as evidence. At that point, the defence objected that the document was not obtained voluntarily and that the first accused was induced to make the statement and that he was promised by the police that if he confessed, they were not going to charge him.
This prompted the court to order a trial within a trial, meaning the prosecutor will need to prove the independence of that voluntary statement at the next adjourned date of 1st July 2020.