Binta A Bah
Africa-Press – Gambia. The much talked-about rape case involving famous youth activist, Bob Keita resumed at the High Court with renewed vigour after a long summer vacation.
Yesterday, the court heard that the DNA test result will be disclosed on Tuesday. This was revealed in the testimony of prosecution witness 9, Assistant Superintendent Francis Jatta. He explained that he was tasked to witness the sample collection of Bob as forensic officer following a request from the Ministry of Justice. He said on August 12, samples were collected from the victim, mother of the late Baby Muhammed in the presence of the state counsel and the victim’s mother and brother. He further disclosed that Bob was escorted to the hospital by prison officers but they received a notice that he, Bob will not enter the pathologist’s office, Professor Ogun who conducted the procedures because he said his lawyer was appealing against the court order.
The witness went on to reveal that samples of Baby Muhammed were also collected from the mortuary. According to him, all the samples were air dried, sealed and stored by Professor Ogun.
Jatta further testified that he flew to Ghana on the 6th September with the samples and handed them to Superintendent Kofi Abban who worked on the samples and gave it to him and he flew back to The Gambia on 16 September.
The witness said upon his return, the DNA result which was sealed in Ghana was taken to the Ministry of Justice but they were asked to keep the result as it is, sealed.
Earlier before Witness Jatta was asked to step in the witness dock, Lawyer Camara had argued that the state did not serve the defense with a copy of the DNA result and also the statement of Mr Jatta, saying he is not an expert witness.
“The DNA result should be served on the defense. The prosecution is under legal obligation to serve legal documents they intend to rely on. That’s the law,” Camara argued.
Principal state counsel Patrick Gomez in his response said the defense is talking about a document that does not exist. “It is our position that a statement written by Francis does not exist and it is not a legal requirement to make a statement to be able to testify,” he said.
On the issue of the DNA result, Gomez said: “We are not averred to serving the defense with a copy of the DNA result.” Meanwhile, the DNA test result is expected to be revealed in court on Tuesday through Sup. Kofi Abban when Jatta finished giving evidence. Abban is expected in The Gambia on Monday.
Meanwhile, Lawyer Lamin Camara took issues with the presiding judge Momodou S Jallow when he said Bob should have been forced to submit to blood extraction for DNA examination to determine the paternity of the baby of the victim he is alleged to have raped.
Justice Jallow said the officers that escorted Bob to the EFSTH should have forced him for the conduct of DNA examination, saying the court will not allow any person to disregard its order.
The judge said this when a forensic officer at the criminal records office in Banjul, who is testifying as the state’s ninth witness, said Bob did not enter the office of the professor to be subjected to a DNA test when he was escorted by prison officers on August 12.
The comments of the judge though didn’t go down well with Bob’s lawyer Lamin S Camara who told the court that his client has the right to refuse to be subjected to a DNA test.
“Bubacarr Keita has the right not to give a blood sample because he has the absolute right to say he has an appeal pending and no one is forced to conduct a DNA test against their will. If the court orders it, he can appeal. My lord judge can only make a court order but cannot enforce that court order,” Camara noted.
The judge in response said: “What we are saying is that the Constitution provides that any person who is alleged to have committed a sexual offence, any police officer could arrest you and subject you for DNA sample to be extracted from you”. However, Camara insisted: “I raised my concerns because I’m seriously concern and I want it to be put in the records”.
Source: The Gambia | Standard News From The Gambia