By Bruce Asemota
Justice Ebrima Ba Jaiteh of the High Court in Banjul has ordered the Judicial Secretary to produce a file docket of the coroner inquest in relation to the death of former Finance Minister Ousman Koro Ceesay in 1995.
The judge however refused the motion to sub-poena the Executive Secretary of the TRRC to produce official transcripts of the oral testimony of Edward as well as affidavit(s) or written statement of Edward tendered and marked as an exhibit in the proceedings of the TRRC.
Justice Ebrima Ba Jaiteh delivered this ruling yesterday premised on the motion filed by lawyer Abdulai Sissohor on behalf of Yankuba Touray who is standing murder trial of Ousman Koro Ceesay.
Justice Jaiteh disclosed that the argument whether there was an investigation into the death of Ousman Koro Ceesay or not would be determined by the production of the record of proceedings of the Coroner Inquest, if it exists and it is therefore a relevant piece of evidence in determining a fundamental issue in controversy.
He further disclosed that considering the fact that record of proceedings of all coroners in The Gambia are lodged with the Chief Justice, the Judicial Secretary would help resolve this issue.
The trial Judge asserted that what is the purpose of procuring these documents from the TRRC when Edward Singhatey will not be called as a witness in the trial to give evidence in chief and be cross-examined on these documents from the TRRC.
He pointed out that if Edward Singhatey cannot be presented to the court as a witness and be cross-examined on his evidence and these documents, then the purpose of producing these documents will amount to an exercise in futility.
He cited the case of Ensa Mendy (Pw2) and Alagie Kanyi (Pw6) who testified before the TRRC and were called as witnesses before the court, they gave evidence and their testimonies from the TRRC were produced before the court and they were cross-examined by the other party.
Justice Jaiteh said the same procedure should be followed, whereby Edward Singhatey should be called as a witness and the defence can then apply to subpoena these specific documents where he will be cross-examined on the said documents.