POLICE REACTS TO FOROYAA NEWSPAPER’S ALLEGATION OF POLICE FAILURE TO CONDUCT CORONER’S INQUEST TO INQUIRE INTO CAUSES OF DEATH OF PEOPLE IN THEIR CUSTODY

With reference to the August 1st, 2017 edition of the Editorial of Foroyaa Newspaper, which states “WILL THERE BE AN INQUEST THIS TIME ON ANOTHER DEATH IN POLICE CUSTODY”? The office of the IGP hereby makes clarifications.

As demanded by section 6(1) of the Coroners Act, “When any person dies while in the custody of the police or of a prison officer, the police officer or the prison officer or any other person having the custody or charge of the deceased person at the time of his death shall immediately give notice of the death to the nearest coroner and such coroner shall hold an inquiry into the case of such death.”

Under this backdrop, the office of the IGP has instructed the police investigators through the office of the CMC to probe into the matters of the late Lamin Krubally who allegedly committed suicide in the Nema- Kunku police post cells. The police investigation is almost complete and will be available to the relevant authorities.

To ensure a genuine expert opinion in supporting the police version of the investigation, the office of the Inspector General of Police applied a request for postmortem to be conducted on Lamin Krubally on 14th July, 2017 and addressed to and sign by H.M. CORONER Magistrate I. Janneh- Njie.

On the 17th July, 2017, a postmortem was conducted on Lamin Krubally in the presence of two of his family members Ebrima Fall of Farafenni and Samba Kebbeh of Bakau. He was confirmed dead by the pathologist, Professor M.A.I. Khalid of Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital. The autopsy report indicated that, the primary cause of Krubally’s death is head injury and the secondary cause is trauma on the skull.

Notwithstanding, for the purpose of clarity, independence and impartiality, the office of the IGP wrote to the Chief Justice to appoint a Coroner for an inquest into the death of Lamin Krubally of Nema-Kunku. Because Krubally is allegedly said to have died under police custody, the office of the IGP deemed it necessary for an independent body to investigate the matter. Thus, on the 31st July, 2017, the Chief Justice appointed Principal Magistrate Lamin George of Bundung Magistrate court as Coroner to probe into the matter so as to ascertain the circumstances leading to Lamin Krubally’s death.

In a similar but different incident, the office of the IGP through the office of the CMC is currently investigating the death of Ebrima Jallow a 60 year (previously reported to be 72years old) of Faji-Kunda. Ebrima died when he was invited by the police after a complaint of marabout fraud was registered against him.

During the questioning processing, he started shivering and collapsed. The police helped to escorted him to Faji-Kunda hospital. Upon arriving at the hospital, he was confirmed dead.

On the 31st July, 2017, the police applied for a request for postmortem to be conducted on Ebrima’s body, signed by the Commissioner of Police Banjul on behalf of the IGP and addressed to H.M. CORONER Magistrate Omar Jabang.

However, on the 31st day of July, 2017 a family member of the late Ebrima Folly Jallow, Caw Toure signed an affidavit in opposition of post mortem to be conducted on Ebrima Folly Jallow.

The office of the IGP wants to remind the general public that the police never defy any law especially in this new democratic dispensation as insinuated by Foroyaa newspaper. The police are only following a lawful process in these matters.

The office further urges the general public especially the media fraternity to exercise patience with the police, particularly with regards to very delicate matters which must be given a due consideration to be investigated thoroughly, since that is the only way to avoid victimizing innocent people.

The office of the IGP takes this opportunity to extend it condolence and sympathy on behalf of the entire Gambia Police Force, to the families of the departed soul. May Allah shower his mercy on the departed souls.

On the 12th July, 2017, the late Lamin Krubally had a quarrel with Lamarana Jallow’s wife. Lamarana intervened as a husband and the problem ended between him and Lamin Krubally. During a heated [….], Lamin took a wooden pestle and hit Lamarana on the head causing him injuries. According to eye witnesses, Lamarana did not fight back but was advised to report the matter to the police, which he adhered to. Lamin Krubally was invited to Nema-Kunku Police Post and since both sustained injuries, they were escorted to Faji Kunda health center for medical treatment. The doctors report indicated that, Lamin sustained slight brushes on the chest and the upper arms while Lamarana sustained serious injuries on the head.

After obtaining statements from both men and the witnesses concerned, Lamin was suspected to be at fault, therefore he was cautioned, charged and detained. Whilst detained, he insisted that Lamarana must also be detained since they were both involved in the quarrel. Suddenly, he knocked his head on the walls of the cell and collapse. The police officers came to enquire and found him lying on the floor of the cell. He was rushed back to Faji Kunda Health Centre and there he was pronounced dead.

His body was escorted to the mortuary of Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital where a coroner’s inquest was granted by a magistrate and post mortem conducted on him.

In the first place, there has always been an inquest into death cases under police custody.

It could be recalled that on 12th July, 2017, one Lamin Krubally of Nema Kunku

As demanded by section 6(1) of the coroner’s act, “When any person dies while in the custody of the police or of a prison officer, the police officer or the prison officer or any other person having the custody or charge of the deceased person at the time of his death shall immediately give notice of the death to the nearest coroner and such coroner shall hold an inquiry into the case of such death.”
That if a person dies in police or prison custody or in some other circumstances there should be an inquest into the cause of the death.