By Landing Ceesay
Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the High Court of the Gambia has admitted into evidence the gold purchase receipts tendered by the lawyers for Abdoulaye Thiam (the plaintiff).
On the last adjourned date, Lamin A. Ceesay, counsel for the plaintiff (Abdoulaye Thiam), sought to introduce receipts of gold purchases as evidence. Lamin S. Camara, counsel for the first defendant (Aisha Fatty), objected to the admissibility of the documents, citing numerous reasons. However, Justice Jaiteh ruled in favour of the plaintiff and admitted the documents into evidence.
Justice Jaiteh ruled that the purchase of gold from Bijouterie Lahat Kheweul and Bijouterie La Solution gold shops in Dakar, Senegal, is specifically and explicitly pleaded, and therefore relevant and admissible as evidence.
“I have perused the first defendant’s statement of defence and, at paragraph 20, it thus avers as follows: “That I received small gold from the plaintiff for my personal use, not for business purposes, as the plaintiff knows very well that I do not engage in any gold business both in The Gambia or elsewhere.”
“By the above pleading, the first defendant admitted to receiving gold from the plaintiff, save that it was small and for her personal use, as she is not into any gold business in The Gambia or elsewhere. The issue of the purchase of gold is pleaded, and the documents sought to be tendered are in support of the facts pleaded and are therefore relevant. I have perused the documents sought to be tendered into evidence as exhibits, and they are receipts of purchases of gold from Bijouterie Lahat Kheweul and Bijouterie La Solution gold shops in Dakar, Senegal, and this I shall hold as a fact, “Justice Jaiteh ruled.
Justice Jaiteh said that Counsel Camara argued that the documents are photocopies, while Counsel Ceesay argued that the receipt for the purchase of gold is the original copy and does not need to be certified. Justice Jaiteh stated that the court does not have the expertise to differentiate between a photocopy and an original copy.
Justice Jaiteh also ruled that the issue of whether the receipts are signed or stamped is immaterial at this juncture and does not vitiate the fact that gold was purchased. He said that the entries attached to the receipts are a summary of the receipts, and they are done for ease of reference for the court.
However, Justice Jaiteh ruled that the entries in the summary of the receipts are not part of the list of documents and are not admissible. He said that admitting them would be tantamount to duplicity.
“Having regards to the receipts of purchase of gold, the receipts are documentary evidence of purchase of the said gold, and therefore, I do not consider that Section 22 of the Evidence Act to be applicable. Furthermore, the receipt of the purchase of gold from Bijouterie Lahat Kheweul and Bijouterie La Solution gold shops in Dakar, Senegal, is in French and has been translated from French Language to English Language, and as the translator, he has deposed to an affidavit to that effect, and in my view, that is sufficient.
“From the foregoing reasons, I hereby resolve this lone issue in favour of the Plaintiff, and I shall admit the said receipt of purchase of gold from Bijouterie Lahat Kheweul and Bijouterie La Solution gold shops in Dakar, Senegal into evidence as exhibit and the weigh to be attached shall be determined at the end of the trial,” he ruled.
Justice Jaiteh then said, pursuant to section 3, of the Evidence Act, 1994, the receipt of purchase of gold from Bijouterie Lahat Kheweul and Bijouterie La Solution gold shops in Dakar, Senegal are admitted into evidence as bundles and marked as Exhibit P8 (a) to (t) for receipts from Bijouterie and Exhibit P9 (a) to (p) for receipts from Bijouterie La Solution.
The case was then adjourned to the 24th of July for continuation.
Aisha Fatty, a Gambian socialite, has been sued by her ex-fiancé, Senegalese businessman Abdoulaye Thiam, for allegedly breaking their marriage promise. Thiam is also suing the Inspector General of Police, Abdoulie Sanyang, as a second defendant.
The civil suit, which is one of the most talked-about cases in the Gambia, was first mentioned in court in April 2023 before Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the High Court of the Gambia.