By Bruce Asemota
The state is appealing for the restoration of a murder charge against one Momodou Oki Sissoho, who was charged with the murder of his wife, Jarrie Damba in 2014 in Nyamanar village. He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for manslaughter by the Basse High Court in 2016.
The matter is currently before the Supreme Court of the Gambia led by the Chief Justice, Hassan B. Jallow.
Dissatisfied with the Basse court’s decision, the state had filed a notice of appeal at the Gambia Court of Appeal, but the Court of Appeal too affirmed the manslaughter guilty verdict prompting the state to go to the Supreme Court challenging the said decision.
During Monday’s sitting on the matter, the SC granted the state application to amend its grounds of appeal.
Principal state counsel A.M Yusuf submitted that a ground of appeal is the substitution of the charge of murder with manslaughter by the trial court.
He also submitted that the trial court admitted and relied on hearsay evidence and avail the respondent (Momodou Oki Sissoho) the defence of provocation.
Counsel Yusuf submitted that the element of provocation cannot avail him of the crime committed which is that he killed his wife after his wife confirmed to him that he was not the father of his child.
Yusuf submitted that punishment for manslaughter is life imprisonment even though by virtue of section 29 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) the Judge has discretion to impose years of imprisonment but should have given him an imprisonment of more than 10 years.
However lawyer Lamin Ceesay of the National Agency for Legal Aid appearing for Sissoho submitted that the judgment of the trial court and that of the Gambia Court of Appeal was proper, sound and appropriate considering the circumstances of the case.
He arguedthat having heard outside that he was not the father of his child, Sisshoho confronted his wife in the night whilst they were both in the bedroom and she confirmed that he wasn’t the father of the child. “So he lost his self control and passion and did what he did,” he said.
Lawyer Ceesay further urged the apex court not to allow the appeal, whilst counsel Yusuf asked the Supreme Court to allow the appeal and convict Momodou Oki Sissoho of murder and give him the appropriate punishment or alternatively increase the years of imprisonment.
Meanwhile, the Chief Justice Hassan B. Jallow informed the court that a date for judgment will be communicated to the parties.