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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Woman wins legal battle for custody of husband’s corpse, assets

Woman wins legal battle for custody of husband's corpse, assets

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By Bruce Asemota

The High Court in Banjul, presided over by Justice Ebrima Ba Jaiteh has ordered that one Rohey Jammeh- Hunnicks takes ownership of the corpse and estate of her late husband Geoffrey Antony Hunnicks.

Justice Jaiteh made this judgment in the matter of an application filed by members of the Executive Committee of Home for Children with Learning Difficulties, who wanted the corpse of the Briton to be handed to them for internment.

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Geofrey Hunnicks died on the 10th January, 2022 and his corpse has been under the custody of the Inspector General of Police until the court determines who should take possession of it.

In his judgment, Justice Ebrima Ba Jaiteh disclosed that after keenly listening to the arguments and submissions of the respective counsels and carefully reading the supporting affidavits and the affidavits in opposition filed by the parties, he felt two issues stood out for determination, namely who is the next of kin of Geoffrey Hunnicks and whether his corpse should be released to the Executive members of the charity group he founded.

Justice Jaiteh asserted that the deceased was until his demise on the 10th January lawfully wedded to Rohey Jammeh-Hunnicks and that they got married on the 22nd March, 2001 at the Registrar General’s office at the Ministry of Justice.  The judge said the Executive members of the organisation said there was a pending divorce, which was not heard and determined by the court, but the filling of a divorce petition does not invalidate a civil marriage under the civil marriage Act. He therefore declared that Rohey Jammeh- Hunnick is the next of kin of the late Mr Hunnicks and should therefore take charge of the burial of  his corpse and inherit his estate without any interference from the Executive committee members of the charity.

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