Monday, March 1, 2021

Supreme Court Holds Yankuba Touray Lacks ‘Constitutional Immunity’

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By Yankuba Jallow

The Supreme Court of The Gambia in a unanimous decision held that ex-military captain Yankuba Touray is not entitled to constitutional immunity as it regards the alleged murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay, a one-time Minister of Finance during the days of military rule.

Touray is indicted at the high court for the alleged murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay in June 1995 contrary to Section 187 of the Criminal Code.

The ex-APRC Spokesperson through his Lawyer Abdoulie Sisohor made an oral application for the court to discharge him on the ground that as a member of Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) and pursuant to paragraph 13 (1), (3), (4) and (5) of the Second Schedule of the 1997 Constitution of The Gambia that he has constitutional immunity from such prosecution.

The high court after hearing the submission of Yanks Touray’s lawyer, decided to refer the matter to the Supreme Court for determination pursuant to section 127 (1) of the 1997 Constitution. The High Court asked the apex court to decide on the question “whether the accused person is entitled to constitutional immunity from prosecution of the murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay pursuant to paragraph 13 (1), (3), (4) and (5) of the Second Schedule of the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia, 1997.”

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In answering the question, Chief Justice Hassan B. Jallow who read the ruling on behalf of the justices of Supreme Court said “the court finds and holds that the accused Yankuba Touray is not entitled to constitutional immunity from prosecution for the alleged murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay pursuant to paragraph 13 (1), (3), (4) and (5) of the Second Schedule of the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia, 1997”.

He said the reasons will be delivered by the court in due course and accordingly directed the high court judge, Justice Ebrima Jaiteh to proceed with the trial of the accused person as charged.

At the high court, the prosecution called nine (9) witnesses to testify against Touray and tendered a few exhibits.

Touray opened his defence by bringing his wife and sister in-law and as the first two defence witnesses. He is the third defence witness in his own case.

Touray will continue with his evidence before the high court. The date will be communicated.

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