Tuesday, August 4, 2020

High Court Set to Rule in Yankuba Touray’s Murder Trial

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By Yankuba Jallow

The Banjul High Court will on Monday, 13th July 2020 rule in the murder trial involving Yankuba Touray, an erstwhile Minister of Local Government and Lands.

Lawyer Abdoulie Sisoho for Yankuba Touray made an application for the court to sign two subpoenas, but this application was objected by the State.

One of the subpoenas was for the court to order the Judicial Secretary to produce the Coroner’s Inquest Report in respect of the death of Ousman Koro Ceesay while the other was for the court to order for the Executive Secretary of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) to produce the official statement of Edward Singhatey and his statement regarding the death of Ousman Koro Ceesay.

Lawyer Sisoho relied on sections 220 and 221 of the Evidence Act as well as section 241 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) to move his motion for the subpoena to be signed.

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Sisoho’s application was supported by a 20-paragraph affidavit.

53-year-old Touray was a long-serving Minister of Local Government and Lands. Retired Captain Touray was also a member of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) after they overthrew the PPP 30-year rule. The former military officer turned politician was accused of the murder of former Minister of Finance, Ousman Koro Ceesay under the AFPRC reign. The prosecution alleged that Touray (now a businessman) used a pestle-like weapon to murder Ceesay in June 1995 at his (Touray’s) residence. Touray denied any wrongdoing as he pleaded his constitutional immunity, but the court entered a plea of not guilty for him.

“I want to submit straight away that there is no affidavit in opposition to the affidavit in support. It is trite that any affidavit which stands unchallenged, un-denied and uncontroverted is deemed as admitted,” Sisoho told the court as he relied on several decided court cases.

Sisoho informed the court that prosecution witness six, Alagie Kanyi testified regarding the death of Ousman Koro Ceesay and gave two versions of the incident. Sisoho said in one of the versions, Kanyi mentioned that it was Edward Singhatey who killed Koro Ceesay and in the other, he said it was a group who participated in the murder of Koro Ceesay. Barrister Sisoho said to clear the air it will be prudent for the documents to be produced.

Counsel Yusuf said this on Wednesday, 8th July while objecting to defence counsel, A. Sisoho’s application for the Coroner’s Inquest Report in respect of the demise of Ousman Koro Ceesay to be produced by the Judicial Secretary.

A.M. Yusuf said there was no Police investigation with regards to the death of one Ousman Koro Ceesay which shows that there was no coroner’s inquest. Yusuf said there cannot be a coroner’s inquest without a police investigation.

“If there was no investigation that means there was no coroner’s inquest,” Yusuf said, adding such a document does not exist.

Regarding the TRRC, Lawyer Yusuf in his objection said Edward Singhatey is not a listed witness in the case and therefore, the official statement he made before the TRRC with regards to the death of Ousman Koro Ceesay is not relevant to the case.

He said if the Defence wants Edward Singhatey’s statement to be produced before the court, let them bring him (Edward) as a witness.

The court will rule on the matter on Monday at 1 pm.

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