Judge Acquits Man in Wuli Murder Trial


By Lamin Fatty

Justice Landing. M. Sanneh, the sitting provincial Judge at the Basse High Court, has freed one of the accused persons in the ongoing Wuli Murder trial in Basse. Sorie Baldeh is now a freeman after his long-standing trial for murder, robbery and conspiracy over the incidents that took place sometime in 2021.

The judge made the verdict after none of the prosecution witnesses mentioned him or linked him to the offences charged. However, his co-accused persons, Amadou Gajigo and Chimentang Kandeh will have to answer to the allegations, as the Judge called on them to open their defence. The two accused persons failed in their bid to get freedom through a no case submission.

Justice Sanneh made this ruling on Monday, 5 June 2023 regarding a ‘No case submission’ filed by the defence counsels in the case.

The accused persons, Amadou Gajigo, Chimentang Kandeh and Sorrie Baldeh, were jointly charged with the offences of murder, robbery and conspiracy. The incident allegedly occurred on the eve of the 2021 presidential election in Sare Gubu Village, Wulli East District, where one Alieu Bah, commonly known as Badara Bah at Sare Gubu, was allegedly killed.

Counsel I.Cham with M. Touray appeared for the State while Kebba Baldeh from the National Agency for Legal Aid (NALA) appeared for the 1st and 3rd accused persons. Lawyer I. Kiejera represented the 2nd accused person.

The prosecution called seven (7) witnesses, who testified in the case and tendered exhibits. At the closure of the prosecution’s case, the defence filed a “no case submission”. However, Justice Sanneh objected, saying “the purpose of a no case submission is to check whether the prosecution has established a prima facie case against the accused persons”.

Justice Sanneh further added that the prosecution failed to prove the allegations against Sorie Baldeh. He held that none of the prosecution witnesses recognised him and none of them mentioned him. He ruled that Baldeh is proven innocent of all the allegations levelled against him and ordered his immediate release. For the other two accused persons – Amadou Gajigo and Chimentang Kandeh – he held that there is a case against them. He made citations of several parts of statements by the prosecution witnesses, who also identified them.

On the charge of robbery, the Judge said the law defines robbery under section 272 of the Criminal Code as: “A person who steals anything ,and ,at or immediately before or immediately after the time of stealing it, uses or threatens to use actual violence to any person or property in order to obtain or retain the thing stolen or to prevent or overcome resistance to its being stolen or retained, commits the felony termed robbery.”

The law states that offence of robbery exist only when money or the property of the victim has been taken away permanently or temporarily without his or her consent through force or threat used by the assailant on the victim to take away or deprive the victim of the property.

The Judge acquitted all the three accused persons on this charge, saying “the prosecution failed to establish a case against them”.

On the third and final count, the Judge said in a conspiracy charge, there has to be an agreement between two or more people to commit an offence(s). He held that the prosecution witness established that both Amadou Gajigo and Kandeh were seen at the compound of the first prosecution witness on the day of the said incident during odd hours. He stated that the two accused persons should answer to that allegation.

“I am of the view that the duo has agreed to be at the said place for a purpose as they did not meet at the said place at the same time by coincidence,” he said, adding that “this court will decide whether they have succeeded or not at the end of the trial.”

Sanneh held that Amadou Gajigo and Chimentang Kandeh, have a case to answer regarding their alleged conspiracy and murder charges. The court says a new date for the defence to open their case will be communicated.