Sunday, November 27

Police investigator testifies in Sainabou Mbye & co trial

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Police investigator from Serious Crime Unit at the Police Headquarters, Bakary Dibba, yesterday appeared before Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the High Court of The Gambia in Banjul to testify in the trial involving Sainabou Mbye, Cherno Mbye and Kibili Dambelly (1st, 2nd and 3rd accused persons) respectively.

The trio is facing manslaughter and exposing child to danger charges. All the accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Giving his testimony under oath, the witness told the court that aside being an investigator at the Serious Crime Unit, he is also a supervisor at the said unit, responsible for the daily activities of others, signing case files and preparing investigations reports, amongst others.

As an investigator, he averred his functions are to investigate criminal matters brought before him, making sure due process is observed, compile files and forward them to the prosecution. “Where the need be, we come and testify,” he told the court.

Mr. Dibba testified that as a crime scene investigator, one is obliged to be at a crime scene, so that one can study the scene properly and gather evidences that are relevant to cases.

“You have a lot of responsibility at the crime scene, amongst which is to prepare construction of the crime scene, evidence collection, check on the scene, proper packaging and labelling. This is to ensure it depicts the true picture of the scene that you are investigating,” he told the court.

Continuing his testimony, he acknowledged that he recognised the accused persons, as he had interacted with them: “The accused persons were directly under the investigation of my office, and as such, being the supervisor, I interacted with them,” he said.

“I can remember on the 20th of April 2022, a case file was received from Bundung Serious Crime Unit involving the three accused persons, but at the time of receiving the file, it was only Cherno Mbye and Kibili Dambelly,” he told the court.

“The accusation involved one baby (name withheld). As investigation, we sat them down, we interacted with them, and they gave us explanation of the circumstances surrounding the demise of the baby” he added.

He furthered that as part of best practises, a team was dispatched from his office headed by himself together with 4 or 5 other officers, whom he named.

“At the time of the reconstruction of the scene, from the information we received from 1st and 2nd, Sainabou Mbye (3rd accused) was out of jurisdiction. We were told she was in Dakar, Senegal,” he said.

The police witness added that when they arrived at the crime scene at Brusubi, 2nd accused showed him where the vehicle, which they along the subject of the case boarded, was parked.

The witness furthered that they made a thorough examination of the scene, and that 2nd accused told him that on the day of the incident, he (2nd accused) was the driver of the vehicle.

He added that Cherno Mbye (2nd accused) gave him the names of the passengers of the vehicle, which were that of himself, the 2nd and Kibili Dambelly (3rd accused), the said subject of the case and other 2 children, adding 2nd accused showed him the direction of the truck that carried their luggage from their old apartment to the new apartment; and 3rd accused also showed him a stone by the gate of theirs.

The police prosecutor testified further that having received guide from the 2nd and 3rd accused persons, they embarked on a measurement. They measured from the front tyre of the vehicle to the compound gate, and equally from the rare tyre to the compound gate, plus the stone.

“Having got all this measurement from the vehicle to the compound, I now took the sketch plan for the crime scene, where the vehicle was parked and all other fixed objects with the correct measurements.”

“We proceeded to interact with the neighbours within the crime scene, and a lady, if I can remember Adama Bojang, gave an explanation of what she had witnessed on the day of the incident.”

“We later interacted with other neighbours but no explanation was gathered from them. We were later taken into the new apartment by 2nd accused, showing us where their belongings were uploaded and where they were parked.”

“He equally showed us the position where the 1st accused was sitting. At the time, she was seated, she was busy on her phone. Having known all the needful at the scene, a rough sketch plan was put up, and we finally went back to the office for continuation of the investigations.”

At this juncture, the witness was handed the document of the sketch plan by State Counsel Jobarteh, which he identified as the one being referred, noting he recognised it by his handwriting and the vehicle number and compound label he had written on the document.

He added in their further investigation, statements were obtained from the accused persons.

“They were charged accordingly and a file was forwarded to the prosecution for prosecuting,” he said, noting, however, that the 1st accused was still out of jurisdiction.