The speculations and rumours are now over. The fact is known, Ebrima Solo Sandeng is dead while in custody. The high court is informed that the primary cause of death is shock and the secondary cause of death is respiratory failure. The court is equally informed that a commission is set up to make an inquiry into his death.
We have searched the Gazette and are yet to see any commission established by law and its members. One must ask who ordered for any investigation into the cause of death, who examined him to determine the cause of death, how was the person appointed to deal with the medical investigation.
What is known to the law of the land is that a Coroner should be immediately informed of the death of any person in custody. Nothing is said to the court indicating that a Coroner took charge of Sandeng’s case. It is only a Coroner who should have ordered for a post mortem to be done by a competent medical practitioner or any person qualified to conduct such investigation in order to determine the cause of death.
The state should therefore go back to the drawing board and get the guidance of the office of the Attorney General on what to do under the law. A Coroner should be appointed to conduct an investigation. It would be the duty of the Coroner to order an exhumation of the body for forensic tests to be done to determine the cause of death.
The state should take this matter seriously since it has resulted in the incarceration of 30 people and the current trial of 15 more. Arrests and detention due to the case involve many dozens of people. The pain associated with the loss of life should be mitigated by putting an end to the trials and imprisonment in connection to the case. The mere assertion that a commission of inquiry is set up is not sufficient. The writing should be done at the right time.