By Omar Bah
Lawyer Mai Ahmad Fatty has commended Justice Momodou S.M. Jallow for his insistence on DNA in the just concluded Bob Keita rape trial. Fatty, also a politician, said yesterday that Justice Jallow’s insistence on DNA has proven to be the defining moment in the case.
“The greatest asset to the accused in this trial has turned out to be the DNA. To the exception of everything else, a negative DNA result in favour of the accused has been the upper-most determinant and exclusive instrument that compelled the State to enter a nolle prosequi. Bob is free due to DNA,” he said.
Fatty observed that it has turned out that the Court Order issued by Justice M.S Jallow for a DNA test, “resisted ferociously by the accused from day one, was in fact in the best interest of the accused”.
“Bob is going home today because of the Judge’s insistence on a DNA test, which ultimately exonerated him as the father of the late Baby Muhammed. It was the same Justice M.S Jallow who had granted him bail, which was appealed by the State and revoked by the Court of Appeal. It’s now evident that Justice M.S Jallow was in the main, wrongly attacked and vilified. This is truly a seminal moment for Gambian criminal justice system. It is history in Gambian criminal jurisprudence – the first court ordered DNA criminal trial, with the conclusion fundamentally influenced by science,” Fatty added.
He said the case provoked the conscience of the nation and helped galvanize mass action for justice.
“It was the subject of khutbas in mosques and regular conversations around attaya vous across the country, and held social media captive. It is a tragic story but a hopeful one as well,” he noted.
The former Interior Minister said public sentiment was incensed due to the perception of a lengthy trial but he was among those who believe anything worth doing, is worth doing well.
“As a keen observer, I opine that this wasn’t’ a case that could be simply rushed. The accused has his rights but the victim has rights too. Both must be protected by the law. In a sensitive case such as this, with several unanticipated supervening circumstances, the court has to get it right, and indeed it got it right. Justice delayed may be justice denied but rushed justice too equals rough justice,” Fatty said.