The Gambia Court of Appeal last week overturned the life in jail conviction of the men convicted for causing the murder of a goat thief.
The court discharged and acquitted Sanna Camara and Abdou Camara after their appeal against their conviction and sentence was upheld. The Camara brothers were convicted to life in jail by Emmanuel Ikpala of the high court in Banjul on July 11th, 2011. The men were found guilty of causing the death of one Ansu Bojang who was caught stealing a goat in Banyaka village, West Coast Region, on September 18th, 2002. Bojang died on the way to Tujereng Police Station.
Justice Ikpala acquitted and discharged Ansumana Camara, Haruna Camara, Yusupha Sanneh and Suwaibou Colley.
The appellants were dissatisfied with the verdict and filed an appeal before The Gambia Court of Appeal, praying the said court to quash the conviction and sentence and enter a verdict of acquittal and discharge in their favour.
The appellants, who were represented by Lawyer Lamin Camara, filed seven grounds of appeal, insisting that the judge erred in law for the conviction and sentence.
“That the judge erred in law and on fact in convicting the Appellants for manslaughter; that the learned trial judge erred in law when he overruled the no case to answer submission of the Appellants; that the learned trial judge erred in law in not deciding on the legal effect of the charges not been read to the Appellants again after being brought back for trial; that there is no charge against the Appellants following the dropping of the charges against them; that the conviction and sentence was against the weight of the evidence adduced before the court; that the sentence is manifestly excessive with regard to the findings of the court and finally that the verdict against the Appellants is unreasonable, perverse and cannot be supported with regards to all the evidence.”
Lawyer Camara said it is trite in law for any court to have any jurisdiction to try anyone without taking his plea to the charge.
“That the record of proceedings and the processes filed in the trial court amply show the said appeal that the appellants have not taken their plea to the charge and that no particular indictment remains against the appellants,” Lawyer Camara said.
The state prosecutor, S.H. Barkum countered that the appellants’ counsel’s submission was “erroneous and a misconception of the fact as contained in the record of proceedings.” He said the sentence was in line with the offence convicted.
But Justice Awa Bah ruled that the “omission” of the appellant did not cause the death of Ansu Bojang.