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Bob Keita Trial: Judge Says Court Cannot Set Aside Decision It Had Made

Justice Momodou S.M Jallow 
Judge Presiding Over the alleged rape trial of Bubacarr Keita (PhotoCredit: Point Newspaper)

By Landing Ceesay

The judge presiding over the alleged rape trial of Bubacarr Keita, Justice Momodou S.M Jallow said a court cannot set aside the decision it had made.

In delivering his ruling on the motion filed by Bob Keita’s Lawyer Lamin S. Camara, for the court to set aside its 7th July ruling for a DNA test to be carried out on Bob Keita (the accused person), Pa Modou Johm (boyfriend of the alleged victim), and the Baby Muhammad who died in Dakar.

Justice S.M. Jallow said the blood samples taken from the child of the alleged victim while in coma have been deemed satisfactory and would be reliably used for DNA purposes.

Justice Jallow said the court has further ordered that PW8 (the alleged victim) be subjected to a DNA sample being drawn from her and even a hair chronicles of the demised child would be sufficient to give the effect of the DNA examination, a requirement by the court’s 7th July 2022 order.

“Which subsist to be carried out by the parties and the order of 13th of July 2022 and 18th of July 2022 all to enhance the DNA examination of the named individuals required strict compliance by the parties to ensure an expedited hearing of this case is not compromised,” he said.

Justice S.M. Jallow said the motion on notice filed by Bob Keita’s lawyer dated 18th of July 2022 is ruled to have been an abuse of the court’s processes and that what is expected is for the defence to submit to the DNA.

“The defence, if you are not in agreement with any court processes or ruling, you have to appeal against that decision at the Court of Appeal but a court cannot set the decision it had made,” he said.

 Justice S.M. Jallow further said the court reiterated that the State has been charged with the responsibility of supervising and coordinating the DNA examination, which defence counsel is required to cooperate to ensure requirements are timely met.  

He said the authority would extract DNA samples from Baby Muhammad in the presence of the concerned parties to ensure a transparent process to satisfy the defence who should be preparing to open their defence next term.

Justice S.M. Jallow said he has made three orders on this DNA, all that he expects is for the state who has undertaken to supervise the conduct of this DNA to expedite.

“This for any reason a court gives an order it expects that order to be carried out. This is my ruling on the motion dated 18th of July 2022 is dismissed as an abuse of the court’s processes, that’s all,” he said.

In response to the ruling of Justice S.M. Jallow, on his motion to set aside the court’s 7th July 2022 ruling for DNA test, Lawyer L.S. Camara, counsel for Bob Keita said they would appeal against the court’s decision.

“We will appeal against this decision, the motion was tendered on our Constitutional rights. But I am a bit concerned when my lord said the defence ought to comply. We comply but agreed to disagree, which is our right to do,” L.S Camara said.

Justice S.M. Jallow then replied: “that’s why we dismissed the motion.” 

 L.S Camara also responded: “We will continue to exercise our right.” 

Justice S.M. Jallow replied again: “Very well.”

Meanwhile, Principal State Counsel Patrick Gomez said they are very grateful to the court’s ruling and that they really appreciate it.

Case Background

Bob Keita is currently facing a single charge of rape after being accused of raping his ex-wife’s younger sister who was said to be a minor at the time and resulted in pregnancy. The case has been going on at the High Court of the Gambia for more than 2 years now.

In May 2022, the State Prosecutors filed a notice of motion for the High Court to grant an order for a DNA test between Bob Keita (Accused Person) and the child of his alleged victim.

Justice Momodou S.M. Jallow on 7th July 2022, gave an order for a DNA test to be conducted and the blood samples of Bob Keita, the child of his alleged victim and the alleged victim’s boyfriend be taken.

The State Prosecutor, Kimbeng Tah, told the Court that the child was in Coma at a private clinic in Dakar, Senegal.

On the 10 of Jul 2022, news emerged on social media that the child passed away on Friday 8th July 2022.

On 13 of July, State Prosecutor Kimbeng Tah, confirmed the death of the child to the court, but informed the Court that the blood samples of the child were taken before his demise in Dakar.

On the same day, despite his lawyer questioning the credibility and transparency of the blood samples allegedly taken from the child before his death, Justice Momodou S.M. Jallow ordered Bob Keita to be transported to the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) for his blood samples to be taken. Then, it was reported that the blood samples of Bob and his alleged victim’s boyfriend were taken.

On the 18 July 2022, Bob Keita’s Lawyer Lamin S. Camara filed a notice of motion of staying the execution of the order of 7th July 2022, pending the hearing and determination of the appeal at the Court of the Appeal of the Gambia.

The case is adjourned to 5th October 2022, for the continuation.

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