By Nelson Manneh
Segaran Ranslu Naidoo a South African Forensic Pathologies and a Medical Doctor yesterday the 3rd of March 2019 testified before Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara of the Banjul High Court.
Doctor Naidoo is the thirty-fourth Prosecution Witness (PW34) in the ongoing criminal trial involving former Intelligence Chiefs who are standing trial on numerous offences ranging from conspiracy to commit felony, assault causing serious bodily harm, murder and making false documents amongst others; in which they all denied wrongdoing.
PW 34 testifying before Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara said he is from South Africa and he is a specialist in Forensic Pathology; that he got his qualification from one of the Universities in South Africa in the year 1981.
He said in 1997 he started working as a Forensic Pathologist and he was requested by the Ministry of Justice of The Gambia to conduct a test on the remains of a body exhibited and alleged to be the remains of the Late Ebrima Solo Sandeng.
He said after he was contacted he arrived in Banjul, The Gambia in June 2018 and he met other experts with whom he conducted the exercise.
PW 34 said they were briefed as to the background of the issue before they started the process.
He said they had a meeting with the Attorney General and the Solicitor General at the Attorney General’s office. “We also had a meeting with the Chief Medical Director of the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital in Banjul,” he said.
He said they then conducted the test between Monday and Friday. “As a Forensic expert with a team of three we conducted the Autopsy test,” he said.
Dr. Naidoo said the purpose of the test was not only to determine the mechanisms that led to the death but also to make a comprehensive report.
From the test the witness said they were not able to come to any conclusion then the Ministry of Justice provided five sets of video files but out of the five video files only three has medical relevance.
He said they also talked to a witness who is a lady and her name is Nogoi Njie. He said he then wrote a report where he outlined the causes, circumstances among others, from medical perspective that led to the death.
“If you see the report will you be able to recognize it?” asked Lawyer Combeh Gaye.
The witness responded in the positive, adding that he will be able to recognize it.
Lawyer Combeh Gaye then tendered the report to the court to be accepted as exhibit.
Defence Lawyer Mene argued that the report was not in its original form and there was no proper foundation laid in connection to the report; therefore it should not be accepted as part of the evidence.
State Lawyer Combeh Gaye said that the witness himself clearly stated that the report is signed by him and is the original copy of the report. She urged the court to overrule the objection made by the Defence lawyers and accept the report.
Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara then overruled the objection made by the Defence Lawyers and accepted the report. The report was then marked as Exhibit U.
Looking at the report the witness said after they had conducted the test the deceased is identified as Ebrima Solo Sandeng.
During cross-examination the witness told the court that part of the duty of a Forensic Pathologist is to examine the body of a deceased who dies suddenly in order to identify the cause of death.
“Did you examine the remains of the deceased?” asked Lawyer Mene.
The witness said yes.
He (the witness) said he first visited The Gambia in 2018.
At this juncture the matter was then adjourned to Monday the 8th of April 2019 for the continuation of cross-examination of PW 34.