By Bruce Asemota

The Supreme Court of The Gambia presided over by Chief Justice Hassan Jallow, has affirmed the judgments of the high court and the Court of Appeal noting that it has no reason to alter the sentence imposed on one Mamudou Oki Sissoho by the trial court and affirmed by the Court of Appeal.

Mr Sissoho was a 23-year-old native of Niaminar village in Upper River Region and had been married to Jarrie Damba for three years. He was ordinarily resident in Spain and during a visit to the country, he discovered his wife had conceived and by the time she delivered a baby girl, he chanced upon rumours that he wasn’t the father.


On 15th February 2014, he confronted Jarrie and she confirmed that the child was not his. In a fit of rage, he stabbed her to death. He also stabbed himself and when neighbours and relatives heard wails from inside the room, they broke the door and found the couple on the floor unconscious.

On 21st May 2014, he was charged with one count of murder and attempted suicide at the Basse High Court.

Presiding judge SA Abi found him not guilty of murder and convicted him of manslaughter by reason of provocation and also convicted him of attempting suicide.

He was sentenced to ten and two years of imprisonment with hard labour for manslaughter and attempting suicide.

The sentences were to run concurrently commencing on 26th February 2014, when he was first arrested and detained by the police.

The state dissatisfied with the conviction and sentence for manslaughter, appealed to the Gambia Court of Appeal which was dismissed on 11th June 2018 and the decision of the high court affirmed.

Dissatisfied with the Court of Appeal’s decision, the attorney general appealed to the Supreme Court stating that the judgment of the Court of Appeal was unreasonable, unwarranted and cannot be sustained having regard to the nature of the case and the evidence led by the prosecution.

The attorney general also stated that the Court of Appeal failed to consider the nature and the gravity of the offence committed by Mr Sissoho.

The attorney general then sought an order of the Supreme Court to set aside the conviction and sentence of manslaughter, allow the appeal and sought for an order for a conviction and sentence for murder as prescribed by Section 187 of the Criminal Code, alternatively, to convict and sentence him for manslaughter as prescribed by Section 189 of the Criminal Code.

The Supreme Court in its judgment disclosed that it agreed with both the high court and the Court of Appeal decision that Mr Sissoho is entitled to the defence of provocation and the conditions set out in the Criminal Code were satisfied.

The Supreme Court also disclosed that both courts below properly directed themselves on the law and evaluated the evidence properly and drew the correct inferences from the proven facts.

The Supreme Court stated that imprisonment for life is not mandatory penalty for manslaughter noting that the court has the discretion in imposing a lesser sentence.

 The Supreme Court pointed out that it was satisfied with the high court decision and affirmed by the Court of Appeal.

The Supreme Court therefore affirmed the judgments of the high court and the Court of Appeal and accordingly dismissed the attorney general’s appeal.