Murder suspect freed after 4-year trial

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By Bruce Asemota

Ebrima Saidykhan, a native of Sinchu Wurry village near Gunjur, Kombo South, regained his freedom on Tuesday after a four-year incarceration for murder.

Saidykhan was alleged to have killed one Momodou Jagne by hitting him on the head with a big stick in Sinchu Wurry on 19 March, 2015.

When the trial opened, Saidykhan denied the charge. The prosecution called four witnesses and tendered statements.

At the close of hearings, both the prosecution and the defence waived their right to address the court.

In delivering judgement yesterday, Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the Banjul High Court stated that it is a cardinal principle in criminal cases that the legal and evidential burden of proving every element of the offence beyond reasonable doubt lies on the prosecution.

He said the prosecuting party could do so by either direct or circumstantial evidence. He pointed out that the prosecution failed to provide an autopsy report or the death certificate of the late Momodou Jagne and showed the court no conclusive evidence of what might have killed him.

He said the prosecution “woefully failed to call or make available to the court a medical doctor to tender the death certificate and an autopsy or post-mortem”.

He said since the prosecution failed to establish “a credible, cogent and compelling evidence in support of an essential ingredient that Momodou Jagne died, it would be worthless and will amount to an academic exercise in futility, if he tried to venture into the elements of whether the accused person caused the death of Momodou Jagne and with malice aforethought”.

Justice Jaiteh said it is trite law that where the prosecution fails to prove its case beyond reasonable doubts, the court must proceed with the discharge and acquittal of the accused person and he accordingly acquitted and discharged Ebrima Saidykhan on the single charge of murder.