By Yankuba Jallow
Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the Banjul High Court has convicted one Abdoulie Saine, a Senegalese national for robbing one Corporal Lamin Darboe of the Serrekunda Police Station.
Saine was charged together with Modou Faye and Ousman Sarr, (both Senegalese) on two criminal counts of conspiracy and aggravated robbery. They all pleaded not guilty to the charges. The prosecution called six witnesses, who all testified in the case and tendered eight exhibits.
Lamin Darboe, the victim of the robbery said the incident happened on the 5th May 2018 around the big baobab tree at the Serrekunda Market.
In explaining the incident, Darboe said he was on his way from conveying his cousin brother to get a taxi at the Jaiteh Kunda taxi park in Dippa Kunda. He said two of the accused persons- Modou Faye and Ousman Sarr – were following him from Dippa Kunda until they got to the baobab tree at the Serrekunda Market when Abdoulie Saine came out from the place he was hiding and was holding a broken glass bottle. He added that Saine stopped him and the two from his back held him from the back and brought him down. Darboe said Abdoulie Saine actually stabbed him and as a result, he sustained injury on his right thumb. He testified that the three took his mobile phone and cash amount of one thousand seven hundred and fifty dalasis from him.
He detailed that he reported the matter to Serrekunda Station and he was assigned with PIU personnel to go after the three accused persons. He said Saine and Faye were arrested at the City Pub around the Bakau Car Park in Dippa Kunda while Sarr was arrested later in Dippa Kunda in the same night.
The witness said he was able to identify the accused persons because the place was not dark – there were lights all over.
Prosecution witness 2, Ebrima Trawally said he was on duty when the complainant Lamin Darboe came to report his encounter with his assailants. He added that he escorted Darboe and they were able to arrest Saine and Faye around the Bakau Car Park in Dippa Kunda.
Corporal Ebou Sowe, a detective officer deployed at the Anti Crime Unit of the Gambia Police Force, Corporal Dario Ceesay also from the Anti Crime Unit and Modou Loum, a guard at the Africell Office in Serrekunda all testified in the case as prosecution witnesses.
All the prosecution witnesses testified that a knife, pair of scissors, a cash amount of six hundred and ten dalasis and broken glass bottle was found in the bag of the first accused person – Abdoulie Saine.
In his Defence, Abdoulie Saine denied participating in the robbery of Lamin Darboe. He testified that on that night, he went to the ferry terminal at around 1 am and found the ferries already closed and decided to search for a hotel where he would spend the night. He said the police found him in the street and arrested him.
Saine said it was his first night in The Gambia and he was on his way to his mother’s funeral. He denied knowing anything about The Gambia.
Modou Faye, in his Defence said he was arrested at Tipper Garage at Bakoteh on his way to Tanji. He denied knowing any of the accused persons.
Ousman Sarr, in his Defence, said he is a resident of Mbour in Senegal and had an accident and was directed to come to a marabout in Kerr Sering in The Gambia. He said he was arrested at the Senegambia junction in Kololi by the police.
Defence lawyers argued that the charges were not proven beyond reasonable doubt as required by law. The Defence raised the issue of mistaken identity adding Faye and Sarr were not found with any of the items. The prosecution argued that they have discharged their burden to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.
Justice Jaiteh in his judgement said the prosecution succeed on strength of their evidence and not rely on the weakness of the Defence.
He asked what aggravated robbery is as contained in the amended information. The Judge said the laws of the Gambia do not have a charge called aggravated robbery.
“It is the imagination of the prosecution,” he said.
He presented that what is contained in the laws is robbery.
He adjudged that the prosecution has proven the robbery charge on Abdoulie Saine. However, they failed to prove the charge against Sarr and Faye. He acquitted and discharged Sarr and Faye on the robbery charge while he convicted Saine on same.
The Judge acquitted and discharged all of the three accused persons on the conspiracy charge as the court held that the prosecution failed to prove the charge beyond reasonable doubt.
Jaiteh said the first accused person was involved in the robbery of Lamin Darboe. He held that this is supported by the testimony of the complainant and all other prosecution witnesses as well as the exhibits tendered by the prosecution.
He adjourned the case to Friday, 21st April 2021 for sentencing. The Judge has already signed a discharged warrant for Sarr and Faye which was handed to the authorities at the Prisons for their release.