Supreme Court dismisses murder convict’s appeal, affirms death sentence

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By Bruce Asemota

The Supreme Court of the Gambia presided over by a panel of five judges has dismissed an appeal filed by one Bakary Kanyi, a murder convict, thereby confirming the death sentence imposed by the High Court and the Gambia Court of Appeal.

Delivering judgment, Justice Nicholas Browne-Marke disclosed that the appeal was brought by the appellant against the judgment of the Court of Appeal delivered on 22nd May, 2014, dismissing his appeal against conviction for the offence of murder, and sentence of death imposed on him by Justice IKPALA, J on 6th May, 2011.

Justice Browne –Marke stated that the facts of the case fell within a very narrow compass that according to PW1 at the trial, Bai Sheik Joof, a neighbor of the Appellant, on the night of 18th December, 2009 they were about to take dinner at the Camara Kunda compound in Farafenni Ward, when the Appellant was reminded that there were no spoons with which to eat the food. PW1 sent his younger brother, Jakaria Camara to get the spoons.

The Appellant was rather impatient, and wanted to begin eating. The deceased, Lamin Camara protested that the Appellant should wait until the spoons were brought.

This led to an argument between the deceased and the Appellant, whereupon the Appellant got up and left.

He returned soon afterwards, rushed at the deceased and then stabbed him.

The victim fell down, and one of those present said that he was bleeding and taken to the hospital and died shortly thereafter.

Justice Browne-Marke disclosed that PW2, ASP Saloum Njie, gave evidence as to how the Appellant was apprehended in Pakala, Senegal and brought back to the Gambia.

The Supreme Court Judge further disclosed that the autopsy report, the pieces of bottles were tendered and the Appellant was taken to the Police station, where he confessed to the crime, adding that he had been provoked by the deceased.

Justice Browne-Marke indicated that the Appellant’s evidence in his defence was a total denial of the allegation of murder, or, of any other crime. He also denied that he was apprehended in neighbouring Senegal, disowned his confession and denied any association with the offence.

Justice Marke further indicated that he claimed he was arrested in his workshop but does not bear the legal burden of proving his alibi.

“One cannot at one and the same time say that I was not there, and so I could not have committed the offence; and in the next breath say, suppose I was indeed there, I now say I was provoked into committing the offence.”

Justice Nicholas Browne-Marke declared that the Supreme Court is of the view that the Appellant was rightly convicted of the offence of murder, and that the Court below was right in dismissing his appeal against both conviction and sentence.

Justice N.B.Marke further declared that his appeal to the Apex Court is dismissed and the respective judgments of the Court of Appeal and of the High Court are affirmed.