By Bruce Asemota
The Gambia Court of Appeal presided over by Justice Naa Ceesay Salla-Wadda, Justice Basirou V.P.Mahoney and Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara, has dismissed the appeal filed by Yankuba Touray, former minister in the APRC/AFPRC government against his death sentence.
Touray was convicted of murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay, a former finance minister in June 1995 and sentenced to death by Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the High Court in Banjul earlier this year.
Dissatisfied with the verdict, Touray filed a notice of appeal outlining nine grounds challenging the High Court decision and asking the appellate court to set the High Court decision aside and release.
Delivering judgment, Justice Naa Ceesay Salla Wadda chronicled the evidence of the prosecution witnesses and the defence witnesses and supported the decision of the Appellate court with citation of cases and authorities.
Justice Wadda highlighted that Alagie Kanyi, who was an accomplice in the murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay was the star and principal witness who participated in the killing of Ousman Koro Ceesay in the residence of the Appellant, Yankuba Touray at Kerr Sering.
Justice Wadda said Alagie Kanyi testified that he participated in the killing of Ousman Ceesay with the appellant, Edward Singhateh, Peter Singhateh, Tumbul Tamba, Pa Alieu Gomez and B.K Jatta.
Justice Wadda further said Alagie Kanyi testified how Koro Ceesay was murdered and how they disposed and carried the corpse to his official vehicle parked outside the appellant’s residence in Kerr Sering which was thereafter found burnt on the Sukuta –Jambur road.
The Judge disclosed that the testimony of Alagie Kanyi who was an accomplice corroborated the evidence of pw2, 3,4,5,7 and 9 noting that the evidence of Alagie Kanyi showed that there was a plot to kill Ousman koro Ceesay.
Justice Wadda said the trial Judge observed the demeanour of Alagie Kanyi when he was testifying at High Court and that the evidence of pw 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 were consistent and corroborated the evidence of Alagie Kanyi.
The Appellate Judge disclosed that the trial Judge conducted a proper evaluation of the evidence adduced before the court during the trial of Yankuba Touray at the High Court.
She pointed out that there was sufficient evidence led at the trial court Yankuba Touray’s action caused the death of Ousman Koro Ceesay.
Justice Naa Ceesay Salla-Wadda disclosed that the entire testimony on Yankuba Touray’s defence of alibi was fraught with inconsistencies and was dismissed by the said court noting that he failed to successfully establish the defence of alibi.
Justice Naa Ceesay Salla-Wadda accordingly dismissed all the nine grounds of appeal filed by the Appellant and upheld the conviction and sentence to death passed by the High Court.