The High Court, in Banjul, has on Wednesday sentenced Yankuba Touray to death by hanging for the killing of Ousman
Koro Ceesay on June 22, 1995, in Yankuba Touray’s house. In a long judgment of the Court read by Justice Ebrima Jaiteh who pronounced the death sentence, Yankuba Touray, a member of the 1994 Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council and former aid to ex-President Yahya Jammeh, has been found guilty of the murder charges leveled against him by the State prosecution.
The trial judge, Justice Ebrima Jaiteh made the final judgment after two years of a protracted trial in which the State prosecutor was Abdul Maita Yusuf while the defense lawyer for Yankuba Touray was lawyer Abdoulie Sissohor.
The Judge lengthily explained how the savage assault on Ousman Koro Ceesay was deliberate violence on his body to kill him.
The judge also explained that Yankuba Touray failed all along the trial to make a convincing defense in order to prove that he was never involved in the murder of Koro Ceesay. Justice Ebrima Jaiteh also buttressed the fact that Yankuba’s sole argument was to claim that he was never on the murder scene when Koro Ceesay was coldly murdered.
Justice Ebrima Jaiteh explained that Yankuba Touray has never given any evidence to the Court about where he was on June 22nd, 1995.
The judge added that not only Yankuba could not tell the Court where he was on that day, but he never produced a witness or any other fact tending to prove that he was elsewhere, away from the murder scene of Koro Ceesay.
The judge said Yankuba, therefore, failed to produce any alibi to make his case and that as such, Yankuba Touray was not entitled to a defense of alibi as it lacked merit and was not tenable.
Justice Ebrima Jaiteh also said he believed that the testimonies of Alagie Kanyi, Ensa Mendy, Kaba Jallow, Lamin Ndour, Pa Habib Mbye, and Mohammed LK Bojang depicted the true picture of how Koro Ousman Ceesay was murdered in cold blood. The judge said the Court has no other reason to disbelieve the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses as they have no reason to lie against Yankuba Touray.
After a brief listening ear to the defense of the accused, Justice Ebrima Jaiteh said “I have found the convict guilty of the murder of Koro Ceesay in cold blood” and that the death shall be hanging.
So far during the marathon trial, the State presented nine witnesses in order to establish a prima facie case (based on the first impression) which include a confessed serial killer, Alagie Kanyi, who confirmed before the Truth Commission and the court that Yankuba Touray participated in the alleged murder of his cabinet colleague, Ousman ‘Koro’ Ceesay on 22nd June 1995 at Yankuba Touray’s residence in Kololi.
Initially, Yankuba Touray was set to give his side of the story surrounding the murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay to the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC). But Mr. Touray refused to give evidence when he appeared before the Truth-seeking Commission, claiming the AFPRC self-attributed constitutional immunity.
Yankuba Touray and his defense legal team have 30 days to appeal the death sentence pronounced this Wednesday by the High Court of The Gambia.