Thursday, September 21

Bob Keita’s rape case: Lawyer Camara, Justice Jallow spar over DNA issues

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Lawyer Lamin S. Camara, the defence counsel of Babucarr Keita commonly known as (Bob Keita) who is standing trial on charges of rape has clashed with Justice Momodou S.M. Jallow over the issue of DNA taken before the court order of 7 July 2022.

When the case was called, state counsel Kimbeng T. Tah together with A. Jobe announced their appearance for the state while Lawyer Camara together with Fatoumatta Jallow appeared for the accused person.

Camara argued that “there’s no evidence before this court to show that any blood was actually extracted from the child in question.”

Justice Jallow, however, interjected and told Camara that Senior State counsel A. Jobe is an officer of the court and if he comes to the chambers with things, we believe it. We will not question his integrity. If he tells us that they are able to draw samples that is something tangible we can work on. We will accept it and we also expect you to endorse it. If you don’t accept that, then there will be an alternative.”

Camara responded: “I am not going to accept it my lord. What I am saying is based on law. You can’t take blood prior to 7th of July in compliance with an order that was not made. That’s not the law. I am saying something that’s very simple. Can we put things in the right way? My lord, we have all the right to disagree with the ruling of the court. We have the right to be suspicious of the state. I have been known to be respecting the decision of the court, so let’s respect the decision of the court. I will respect the decision of the court and I will abide by it but I have the right to apply against it regardless of how that’s perceived,” he stated.

The defence counsel has also filed a motion of notice seeking among other things to set aside the ruling of the 7th July 2022 pending the hearing of an appeal at the Court of Appeal. The State counsel would also in two days reply to the motion filed by the defence team.

Meanwhile, Counsel A. Jobe informed the court that they also had taken blood samples from the accused person, and the complainant’s boyfriend. This, he added, was taken in the presence of the accused person’s family and the complainant boyfriend’s family and that the court was represented. The blood samples extracted from them, he added, were all being kept at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital.

Justice Jallow said: “The state’s interest and everybody’s interest is to make sure that the ends of justice are met. We are not going to compromise that. We will grant you an adjournment for today so that we will hear from the state respondent to your affidavit that you have filed.”

The integrity of our state institutions, Jallow stated, must not be compromised. “This is not the only rape case before this court. Is it the only rape case before this court? Therefore, every adventure will be explored. We will make sure that every Gambian who is alleged to have committed anything will be tried before us even if there’s no member in the gallery. Sometimes we sit here without any person but only the lawyers. So, to have a full gallery is a good omen and I don’t see it as an ill-omen. So therefore, the state must be commended for telling us the steps they have taken so far in extracting the sample from all the persons.”

“We believe in that as a court and as a Gambian court. We have full conviction that is what happened. Therefore, whatever the state gives us we will accept it wholeheartedly except if it’s controversial and that’s why defence counsel is here. Therefore, since he doesn’t object to DNA sample being drawn from Fatou Ngonneh Mbaye who is PW 8, we will leave that order and as far as DNA is concern, anywhere in all jurisdiction in the world if anybody is to be subjected to DNA, in the event blood sample can’t be had, even a hair can be used for that DNA process.”

“Obviously as defence counsel, you have every right to use any defence in securing the acquittal of the accused person. We are aware of that and the state will not compromise anything and this court will not compromise anything. If the state brought evidence that is not admissible, then it will not be admissible. If the state doesn’t prove its case that Bob Keita is guilty as charged, he will be acquitted and discharged. But in the same vein, if he is found guilty and found wanting of the offence he is alleged to have done, he will be convicted and sentenced according to the law.”

The case is adjourned to Thursday for the defence counsel to move its motion on notice dated 18th of July 2022.