By Landing Ceesay
High Court found Yankuba Touray guilty of the murder of former Finance Minister- Ousman Koro Ceesay and sentenced him to death by hanging.
The High court judge Justice Ebrima Jaiteh said Alhagie Kanyi, an accomplice witness gave extensive evidence on how he (Alhagie kanyi) Edward Singhateh, Peter Singhateh, BK Jatta, Tumbulu Tamba, Pa alieu Gomez and Yankuba Touray beat Ousman Koro Ceesay with a pestle-like and other objects in the house of Yankuba in Kerr Serigne until Ceesay died.
“Alhagie Kanyi also gave evidence that when they arrived at the residence of the accused person in Kerr Serigne, the place was empty. That is, the guards on duty at the residence of the accused person were not there as well as his family. This piece of evidence is supported by the evidence of Ensa Mendy, Hamat Jah Ngum and Lamin Ndure that the accused person has instructed Hamat Jah ngum for his family to be removed from the residence and taken to the residence of Edward singhateh where a party was organized,” Justice E Jaiteh stated on Wednesday in Banjul.
Justice Jaiteh said he perused the evidence of Alhagie Kanyi very carefully and that there is nothing that impedes Alhagie Kanyi from being an accomplice and competent witness. He said Alhagie Kanyi’s evidence is relevant, reliable and admissible to establish the ingredient of the offence with which the accused person stands charged.
In-law, an accomplice is a competent witness against an accused person and conviction based on the evidence of an accomplice is not illegal even where evidence does not corroborate.
In the case of Yankuba Touray, Justice Jaiteh said the evidence given by Alhagie Kanyi corroborated with the evidence given by other witnesses.
“In my opinion the evidence of Hamat Jah Ngum, Ensa Mendy and Lamin Ndure support the testimony of Alhagie Kanyi that after hitting the deceased there was blood all over the house. I must say all the prosecution witnesses gave evidence to support this piece of evidence. Pa Habibou Mbaye, the crime management coordinator at the time and Muhammad L.K. Bojang Police investigator at the time equally testified before this court.
“The above testimonies of Edward Singhateh, Hamat Jah Ngum, Lamin ndure, Pa Habibou Mbaye and Muhammad L.K. Bojang are consistent with the testimony of Alhagie Kanyi. So, I therefore, conclude that the evidence of prosecution witnesses materially corroborated with the evidence of Alhagie Kanyi and therefore resolve this first issue of Alhagie Kanyi .
Yankuba Touray, former Minister of Local Government and Lands under APRC government was being tried on a criminal charge of Ousman Koro Ceesay’s murder since June 2019; after refusing to testify at the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) on circumstances surrounding the dead of former Gambian Finance Minister Ousman Koro Ceeaay in 1995 which certain TRRC witnesses said took place at Yankuba Touray’s house and he also participated in the killing.