By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT and Abubacarr Saidykhan
On the 9th of July 2020 will mark one year since the death of Kebba Secka, a University of the Gambia student stabbed to death by a Police Officer at Palma Rima Junction while with some of his friends. The continuation of his murder case took place today the 6th of July 2020. In the last court hearing, which took place on the 1st of July 2020, the prosecutor examined the first witness, Police Sergeant Lamin Sabally who was part of the Investigative Panel on Kebba Secka’s death. The court hearing ended with the prosecutor submitting the statements of the first accused as evidence.
When the case was called, Mr Muhammad B. Sowe announced his representation for the State, while Mr Kebba Baldeh from the National Council for Legal Aid announced his representation for the two accused persons. The court hearing which lasted only 15mins commenced with the Defence, Mr Kebba Baldeh cross-examining Sergeant Lamin Sabally.
The Defense questioned Lamin Sabally if he was the investigator on the panel to which Mr Sabally responded that he “was part of the investigative panel”.
Next, the Defense questioned if Sergeant Sabally was alone while engaging the first accused to write down his statements. This prompted a correction from the judge who highlighted that Sergeant Lamin Sabally “didn’t say there was a panel”. In reaction, the Defence rephrased his question to ask if the investigator was the only officer present during the recording of statements. To this Sergeant Sabally responded with a simple “no” and that other officers were present.
At this stage, the Defense argued that Sergeant Sabally “and other panel members whilst obtaining statements promised the first accused after making statements that if he affixes his signature to the statement all possible changes that may be brought against him will be dropped”. To this Sergeant Sabally responded that “we never promised him that”.
This prompted the Defense to declare a trial within a trial to assess the veracity of the statements submitted and if they were submitted willingly as opposed to coercing the suspect into making a statement. The first witness was then discharged.
According to Prosecutor Muhammed Sowe, he intends to present three additional witnesses to the witness stand. While agreeing on the date for adjournment Justice Sainabou Wadda Ceesay revealed that she had a backlog of approximately 160 cases which she needs to go through.
It was agreed to adjourn the court case to the following dates 3rd, 4th and 5th of August 2020. All cases are expected to commence at 10:30 am in the Morning.