• Wed. Sep 28th, 2022

Gambia: State and defense lawyers share letters on collection of DNA samples

ByRandall B. Phelps

Aug 17, 2022

State and defense attorneys in the Bubacar Keita rape trial shared letters on August 11, 2022, regarding the collection of biological samples from Baby M and the mother (the alleged rape victim), the two letters being dated August 11, 2022.

Senior State Counsel Alasan Jobe, on behalf of the Solicitor General, first wrote his response to attorneys representing Bob Keita, while on the same day Defense Attorney Kaddijatou Jallow responded to the State.

It may be recalled that on 9 August 2022, the Defense wrote to the State indicating its decision not to attend the sample collection process as this would undermine its appeal to the Gambia Court of Appeal, after filing an appeal to the High Court. order for the collection of DNA samples. The Defense in this appeal asked the Court of Appeal to stay the execution of the High Court’s order for the taking of DNA samples pending the hearing and decision on the appeal.

Lawyer Alasan Jobe, in his response to the defense team, said that the presence of the defense during the collection of the samples is based on the court order, adding that it was not a a request from the prosecution.

“Our letter was simply to inform you of the date and time of the collection. Your decision not to comply with said order should therefore be addressed to the Court,” Jobe said.

Jobe argued that the DNA test is part of the prosecution’s evidence, adding that defense attorneys are fully aware that, by law, the state has no obligation to involve the defense in the collection. proofs.

He said the defense lawyers are aware of the rights of their client (Bob) as well as the procedure for challenging evidence when it comes to court.

“Our insistence that the Court order the taking of samples in the presence of the defense was in good faith and to promote transparency. We therefore urge you to reconsider your decision not to comply with the High Court order of ‘attend to the taking of biological samples from the body of the deceased child and his mother,’ he said.

Advocate Kaddijatou Jallow, junior attorney to Attorney Lamin S. Camera, in her response, acknowledged receipt of their letter via WhatsApp.

“We regret to inform you that our position contained in our letter of August 9, 2022 regarding the collection of DNA samples remains unchanged,” she said. Attorney Jallow said the Defense will not engage in a discussion with the Office of the Attorney General about whether their presence is required by court order or not. Furthermore, she said they would not engage in a discussion about whether or not the prosecution is required to invite the defense to gather evidence.

“We believe this is not the time or the forum to discuss the legality or otherwise of these claims. Suffice it to say, when we get to that bridge, we will cross it,” she said. .

She reiterated that they had appealed to The Gambia Court of Appeal against some of the High Court orders dated July 7, 2022, July 13, 2022 and July 27, 2022 respectively. She said there was an application for a stay of execution from the High Court for the collection of the DNA samples pending the hearing and decision on the appeal, and that the charge had been served.

In another development, Bob Keita was on Friday, August 12, 2022, escorted to Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) to deliberately witness the collection of samples from Baby M and his mother. He was escorted by two prison guards and a prison orderly. Before leaving Mile 2, Bob indicated that he did not want to go to the hospital because he did not want to participate in the process. He pointed out that his lawyers have written to the prosecution indicating that they are pursuing their appeal before the Gambia Court of Appeal. He stopped at the EFSTH morgue and refused to enter the hospital. The doctor entered and informed those inside that Bob Keita had refused to enter the hospital, stating that his lawyers had appealed the court order and that he was awaiting the outcome of the affair.

Barrister Alasan Jobe for the prosecution, the clerk of the Bundung High Court and the doctor who was supposed to take the samples were the people inside.

When he came out, attorney Alasan Jobe was told by Bob Keita, the defendant, that he had nothing to do with him. He told lawyer Jobe that his lawyers had already communicated their position to him. The nurse came in and spent some time there. Then the Doctor also came out trying to convince Bob who maintained his position that he didn’t want to appear and was then taken back to Mile 2.