Victim of Assault, Domestic Violence Continues Testimony in Husband’s Trial

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By Kemeseng Sanneh (Kexx)

A victim of intentional wounding, assault causing grievous bodily harm, and domestic violence continued with her testimony in her husband’s criminal trial before Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the Banjul High Court.

Gorgi Sowe, the husband is facing charges of attempted murder, assault causing grievous bodily harm, intentional harm, wounding and domestic violence.

The victim (name withheld) continued her testimony led by State Counsel A. Gibba. 

Gibba questioned her about the events leading up to her loss of consciousness. The victim recounted that her child called the neighbours on the phone; and they called the police. When the police came, she explained her encounter with the accused to the police accusing her husband of beating her and then inflicting harm on her. 

The witness recalled that before the incident, she was informed by one person named Jainaba at a pharmacy that there was rumour that her husband was planning to burn down their house.

The witness said her husband attacked and seriously injured her legs and hands by cutting them two days later.

The witness said the accused person divorced her 3 times. She added that despite divorcing her, the man used to come to her and engage her in sex against her will. She stated that when she tried to resist, the man would threaten to inflict harm on her or throw her out of the house.

During cross-examination by Senior Counsel Omar Susso, the witness said she has been married to the accused person for 23 years and they have 7 children.

“In your testimony, you told the court that no marriage is perfect,” Counsel Suso said.

“I did not say that,” the witness said.

“Would you agree that encountering problems in a marriage is inevitable?” Counsel Sillah asked.

“I disagree with you; some marriages are perfect,” the witness said.

“Madam Sowe, has your 23-year marriage been marked by problems?” Counsel Suso asked.

“Yes, very big problems as my mother forced me into the marriage, and it has been troublesome since then,” she said.

The witness said her troubles commenced with a land dispute.

“So, is it correct that you informed the court that the accused sold your compound?” Suso asked.

“The accused sold my land, my cow, and he wanted to sell the house I was living in,” she said.

The land is situated in Jalambang. The witness said the land was in her name.

“It is in my name. I was planning to give three goats to the ‘Alkali’ to complete the paperwork. The previous ‘Alkali’ allocated me the piece of land, and I built a house on it,” she said.

She testified that the accused person assisted her in building the house. 

“Are you aware that the accused cannot sell your land without your consent as it is registered in your name?” Suso asked.

“When the accused sold the land, it was in my absence as I travelled to my village. He sold it without my knowledge. I forgave him for that act as I am currently dealing with severe chest pain, and I am exhausted from all these issues,” the witness said.

“I am telling you it is not possible for the accused to sell land that is registered in your name,” Lawyer Suso said.

“I can confirm that the land belongs to me. I have witnessed that, and he sold my land and cow. I can swear to that,” the witness said.

Counsel O. Susso: When did the accused divorce you for the third time?

“The accused divorced me for the third time and that was 3 years ago, sending me out of his house,” she said.

She stated that it happened in the presence of the Imam.

“Is it true that after the divorce, the accused relocated you to his property in Jalambang?” the lawyer asked.

“Following the divorce, he instructed me to return home, but the neighbours and others advised him against it. They felt it was best for him to relocate me elsewhere since he had another place,” the witness said.

“Did he move you to his compound in Jalambang?” Suso asked.

“Yes, he took me to his compound in the bush at Jalambang Touray,” the witness said.

“By relocating you to one of his properties, would you not consider that a kind gesture as opposed to your allegation of domestic violence?” Suso said.

“No, it is because he asked me to return to Baddibu. People told him to relocate me elsewhere, because of the wellbeing of the children, not me,” she replied.

“Is it possible for the accused to live with the children and your co-wife in that compound since he is their father?” Suso asked.

“That’s not possible because he didn’t like me and that was extended to my children. He would not permit my children to stay in the compound in my absence. He hated my children,” the witness said.

“Is it not possible for the accused to marry another wife different from your co-wife and care for the children?” Suso asked.

“Yes, that is possible,” she said.

“You told the court that you couldn’t report the domestic violence due to the accused casting spells on you,” Suso told the witness.

The witness answered in the positive. She added that she reported her problems to her late mother.

“I confided in my mother, who advised me to let it go. Following her wisdom, I chose to entrust the situation to God’s providence. My late mother had instilled in me the belief of surrendering all matters to God’s hands, and thus, I have chosen to place the accused person’s actions in God’s care. 

Lang Kaba Touray, who gave me the land, visited me during my hospitalisation. He explained that the land was given for the sake of my children and promised to transfer its ownership to me for the benefit of my offspring. Therefore, I have decided to leave everything to divine intervention,” she said.