Lamin CamaraDefence Lawyer in Bob Keita trial (Photo Credit: Kexx Sanneh)
By Buba Gagigo
Defence Lawyer Lamin Camara said they are not going to trust in the conduct of any DNA examination coordinated, supervised, or involving the State law office, the Prosecuting Authority.
Bob Keita is currently facing a single charge of rape after being accused of raping his ex-wife’s younger sister who was said to be a minor at the time and resulted in a pregnancy.
The case has been going on at the High Court of the Gambia for over 2 years now.
In May 2022, the State Prosecutors filed a notice of motion for the High Court to grant an order for a DNA test between Bob Keita (accused person) and the child of his alleged victim.
On 7th July 2022, Justice Momodou S.M. Jallow gave an order for the DNA test to be conducted and the blood samples of Bob Keita, the child of his alleged victim and the alleged victim’s boyfriend be taken.
The State Prosecutor, Kimbeng Tah, told the Court that the child was in a coma at a private clinic in Dakar, Senegal.
Three days later (10 July 2022) news emerged on social media of the passing of the child on 8 July 2022.
On 13th July, State Prosecutor Kimbeng Tah, confirmed to the court, the death of the child.
However, he informed the court that the blood samples of the child were taken before his demise in Dakar.
On the same day, despite, his lawyer questioning the credibility and transparency of the blood samples allegedly taken from the child before his death, Justice Momodou S.M. Jallow ordered for Bob Keita to be transported to the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) for his blood samples to be taken.
It was later reported that his blood samples were taken together with his alleged victim’s boyfriend.
In today’s hearing, Bob Keita’s Lawyer Lamin S. Camara give the following arguments in support of the motion he filed for staying the execution of the order of 7th July 2022.
The Defence lawyer argued that the Court ordered that he submit blood extraction for DNA examination to determine the paternity of the late baby Muhammed of blessed memory on the 7th of July 2022.
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He said the court ordered that the State Law office, which is the Prosecuting office of the State, and an interested party “should coordinate the DNA Examination”.
The Counsel said on the 13th of July 2022, almost a week after the order of the 7th of July 2022, the Deputy Director of Civil Litigation of the State Law Office appeared and requested an order directing Bob Keita to be taken to EFSTH for extraction.
The lawyer also said the court granted the order despite his objection that they intended to file a stay of execution of the ruling of the 7th of July 2022, and appeal but they could not because they were not served with the order of the 7th of July 2022.
He said Deputy Director K. Tah and Senior State counsel Alasan Jobe escorted Bubacarr Bob Keita with the prison officers to the EFSTH from the court and directed that his blood be extracted which was done immediately.
The lawyer said since the 13th July 2022, no blood extraction has been done on Baby Muhammed, pursuant to the order of 7th July 2022.
The lawyer further argued that he knew that no blood sample was taken from baby Muhammed after the order on the 7th July 2022.
He said any purported blood sample collected before the court order would not have come from baby Muhammed as the court was informed that he was very sick and in a coma.
Counsel Camara said any blood extraction from baby Muhammed ought to have been taken in the presence of an independent and neutral person without any vested interest in the outcome of the DNA examination.
The Defence lawyer also said the Respondent is not a neutral person in the matter and cannot and should not coordinate the DNA examination, if any.
He said for the fact that DNA examinations are not conducted in The Gambia, makes the whole process fraught with possibilities for foul play, of which bloods swapping is no exception.
Defence Counsel Camara continued that there is every possibility of taking blood samples from any of his client’s biological children in the custody of his ex-wife, Sainabou Mbye (PW 1), and paraded as blood samples from baby Muhammed.
He said the Court did not put in mechanisms in the court order of the 7th July 2022 to ensure transparency in the manner of blood extraction and DNA examination.
He said that the order of the 7th July 2022, is directed at the State Law Officer rather than the office of the Honourable Sheriff or any neutral institution to conduct the blood extraction and coordinate the DNA examination.
He said in regards to the unfortunate circumstances of baby Muhammed, it is practically impossible to conduct a blood extraction as per the court’s order of the 7th July 2022.
The counsel said baby Muhammed allegedly passed away on 8th July 2022, in Dakar Senegal, a day after the court’s ruling on the conduct of the DNA examination
He also said that given the nature of the order of the 7th of July 2022, it is not possible to comply with the order due to the intervening circumstance.
The case is then adjourned to 25th July 2022, for the Defence Counsel to finish his argument.