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City of Banjul
Sunday, February 28, 2021

After 11 years in prison for murder, Supreme court frees Batch Fye

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Batch Fye was convicted and sentenced to death by Justice MA Paul in December 2003 for the murder of ‘Njok’ Malick John by stabbing him with a knife at the Senegambia area on 6 December 2003. 

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He had earlier filed an appeal before The Gambia Court of Appeal but it was dismissed for lack of merit which prompted his lawyer to file an appeal before the Supreme Court for consideration. 

The seven-judge panel headed by the chief justice went through the appellant’s grounds of appeal, the evidence of the prosecution witnesses as well as the history of the case since the onset.

The lead judgment which was delivered by Justice Raymond Sock, came to the conclusion that the appellant, Batch Fye was not liable for the death of Malick John.

Justice Sock opined that in order to establish the ingredients of the offence of murder, the onus lies with the prosecution to prove its case beyond all reasonable doubt. 

“In order to determine the actual cause of the death of the deceased, we have to go through the evidence and facts as narrated in the case file so as to establish the actual cause of the death of the deceased. It is true that the appellant had a fight with the deceased but the undisputable fact was that the deceased was the first person who used a broken bottle and hit the appellant on his head and the appellant also took a knife in revenge. And whereas the death of the deceased was caused by the appellant, there must be tangible and substantial evidence in order to convict the appellant as charged,” Justice Sock observed. 

According to him, the judges have gone through the judgment of the lower court and the evidence of that of the prosecution witnesses and found that the lower court had erred in its judgment as contended by the appellant’s counsel and therefore set aside the judgment of the lower court and discharged and acquitted the appellant. 

Immediately after delivering his verdict, he advised the appellant, Batch Fye to distance himself from such acts. He cautioned: “Young man, leave that way of life, don’t go clubbing. You are very lucky, very, very lucky.”

Lawyer Ida Drameh appeared for Mr Fye while the director of public prosecution, Hadi Saleh Barkun represented the state. 

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