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HomeGambia NewsGAMBIA: POLICE INVESTIGATOR TELLS KUMBA SINYAN CONFESSED TO KILLING LAMARANA

GAMBIA: POLICE INVESTIGATOR TELLS KUMBA SINYAN CONFESSED TO KILLING LAMARANA

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Kumba Sinyan at Court

Corporal Samba Bah, Police Investigator, under cross-examination told the court that Kumba Sinyan (the accused person) confessed to killing Momodou Lamarana Jallow (the victim) after obtaining her cautionary and voluntary statements. 

Kumba Sinyan, a young entrepreneur, is charged with murder contrary to section 187 of Criminal Code Cap: 10:01 Revised Laws of the Gambia 2009. 

Prosecutors alleged that the suspect on or about the 14th of September 2022 at The Friendship Hostel in Bakau, with malice aforethought, caused the death of one Lamarana Jallow by cutting his stomach with an object and thereby committed an offence punishable with death under section 188 of the Criminal Code Cap of the Laws of the Gambia 2009.

Corporal Samba Bah appearing before Justice Sidi Jobarteh of the High Court of the Gambia as the eighth prosecution witness (PW8) said the accused person (Kumba Sinyan) confessed to killing Lamarana Jallow (the victim). 

Counsel Mrs. S. Twum, representing the accused person (Kumba Sinyan) asked the witness how did the police determine the charge against her client? 

The witness told the court that the charge against the accused person was determined through her (Kumba Sinyan) cautionary statement, where she narrated what she did. 

“The Cautionary statement was first recorded and then the voluntary statement where the charge was read to her,” the witness told the court. 

Counsel S. Twum asked the witness to tell the court how he obtained the accused person’s cautionary and voluntary statements. 

The witness said when Kumba Sinyan came, he read the cautionary wordings to her (Kumba Sinyan). 

“Kindly tell the court those cautionary wordings you read to her,” Counsel S. Twum asked the witness. 

“I may not remember the cautionary wordings offhand,” the witness responded. 

Counsel asked the witness what he did after obtaining the cautionary statement. 

“After obtaining her (Kumba Sinyan) cautionary statement, I reported back to my superiors, and they advised that we charge her with murder,” the witness answered. 

“Who were your superiors when you reported,” Counsel Twum asked. 

“There was Chief Inspector Touray, ASP Darboe Cadet ASP Bah, and Commissioner Bah,” the witness answered. 

The witness further told the court that the decision for the accused person to be charged was taken jointly by his superiors. 

The witness told the court that before obtaining the accused person’s cautionary and voluntary statements, he informed her about her right to legal representation. 

“I informed her that she has a right to a legal practitioner and I then called an independent witness before obtaining her statements,” the witness told the court. 

“It is correct that she did not have a legal counsel when you were questioning her,” Counsel Twum asked the witness. 

The witness confirmed to the court that by the time he was obtaining the accused person’s statements, she did not have legal representation. 

“Can you remember the details you recorded on the statements,” Counsel Twum asked? 

“Yes, I can remember the name of the accused in the statements. I can remember that very well,” the witness answered. 

“Did you interview the accused before you obtain her cautionary and voluntary statements,” Counsel Twum asked again. 

“Several interviews were made with her before she gives her statements,” the witness responded. 

The witness told the court that he communicated with the accused person in Wolof Language while obtaining her statements. 

“Were you aware that she (Kumba Sinyan) was literate in English,” Counsel Twum asked. 

“No, I did not know,” the witness responded. 

“You did not know because you didn’t care to ask,” Counsel Twum told the witness. 

“I can remember going to the extent of allowing her (Kumba Sinyan) to write her own statement,” the witness responded. 

“I am putting it to you that she was not given an option to write her own statement,” Counsel Twum put it to the witness. 

In his response to Counsel Twum, the witness told the court that he doubted the claim made by the defence counsel. 

“I am also putting it to you that you did not give her (Kumba Sinyan) the opportunity to sign, but instead you made her thump print the statements,” Counsel put it to the witness. 

“That is not correct. She was given an opportunity to sign,” the witness responded. 

The witness told the court that the independent witness he invited before obtaining the accused person’s statements was a businessman called Morro just near the Kairaba Police Station. 

“I am putting it to you that Morro was called after obtaining the statements,” Counsel Twum told the witness. 

“That is not correct, I called him before recording the statements,” the witness responded. 

Counsel Twum asked the witness whether the independent witness knew the content of the statements. 

The witness told the court that when the accused person was giving her testimony, the independent witness was present. 

“Did the accused person (Kumba Sinyan) agree to the statement when you read to her,” Counsel Twum asked? 

“Yes, she agreed to the statements,” the witness responded. 

“I am putting it to you that you never read the statement to her (Kumba Sinyan),” Counsel Twum put it to the witness. 

“That is not correct,” the witness responded. 

“Did she make any corrections,” Counsel Twum asked again. “She did not make any corrections,” the witness responded. 

“Did you write her statement word for word or did you paraphrase her statements,” Counsel Twum asked the witness. 

“I can’t say a word for word, but the words in that statement are her words,” the witness responded. 

Counsel Twum: “I am putting it to you that the accused person narrate a very long story to you, but you decided to write a short one.”

“That is not correct,” the witness responded. 

Counsel Twum: “Not only did you remove certain parts of her narration, but also you add certain things you want in the statement.”

The witness told the court that he wrote everything the accused person (Kumba Sinyan) told him. 

“Can you tell the court her actual word after reading the charge to her (Kumba Sinyan),” Counsel Twum asked. 

The witness told the court that Kumba Sinyant told him that “Yes, I did the act.” 

“She admitted doing the Act,” the witness told the court. 

“Did she add an explanation on top of that,” Counsel Twum asked. “No, she didn’t,” the witness responded. 

“I am putting it to you that when you read the charge to her, what she gave you was an explanation, not an answer,” Counsel Twum told the witness. 

“That is your own story,” the witness responded.  The Defence Counsel, however, was furious about the response from the witness and asked him to withdraw that statement. 

The witness then apologized to the defence counsel. 

“I am putting it to you that you failed to write the explanation given to you by the accused person,” Counsel Twum put it to the witness shortly after his apology. 

“No, that’s not correct,” the witness responded. 

Asked what time he recorded the accused person’s statements, the witness told the court, the voluntary statement was recorded at 7:03 pm and for the cautionary statement, there is nowhere to indicate the time, but it will be in the station diary. 

Counsel Twum: “I am putting it to you that, as an experienced officer, you should indicate the time on the statements.”

The witness: “There is no portion to indicate that it should be there.” 

“Do you know that it is a requirement to put time into it,” Counsel Twum asked. 

“I don’t know that it is a requirement,” the witness told the court. 

The witness told the court that he tendered all the evidence he collected from the crime scene. 

“What is your responsibility as a Crime Scene Officer,” Counsel Twum asked the witness. 

“They are many, but I can tell you that the primary function of a crime scene officer is to protect the crime scene and properly collect the evidence,” the witness responded. 

“You did tell us that you were present at the accused house to collect evidence,” Counsel Twum asked. 

“I did not say so,” the witness denied. 

“But you told us that you were there,” counsel Twum told the witness. 

“To be in her house and to collect evidence are not the same,” the witness responded. 

“I am putting it to you that you collected evidence from her house,” Counsel Twum put it to the witness. 

“I did not collect any evidence from her house, I was only given to package it,” the witness responded. 

The case was adjourned to 3rd of May 2023 for continuation. 

By Landing Ceesay 

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