The mother of the complainant in the rape trial of Bubacarr Keita told the high court in Bundung on Thursday Keita said he wasn’t going to listen to the discussion and left during a family showdown in Lamin.
The businesswoman told Judge Momodou SM Jallow of a meeting she said took place in Lamin: “When we arrived, Awa Nding called him (Bubacarr) and told him [ex-wife] called her and told her this and that. That the reason she did not come to his house is that his mother was there and she didn’t want the issue revealed. Awa Nding told him ‘Bubacarr, [ex-wife] told me [victim] is pregnant, she said it’s you who impregnated her’.
“Bubacarr then came started shouting saying it’s not him and saying all sorts of things. I then told Awa Nding Bubacarr was throwing tantrums; that I was an elder and I went there just to make sure the issue doesn’t come out.
“Bubacarr then stood and said he would not listen to the discussion, since the talk was false talk, that we were accusing him. He then stood and said he would not ignore the issue and would go to police if we did not. He said he would go to police; [that] he would go to Observer (newspaper) and [that] he go to GRTS. His sister told him to sit down but he said he would not sit down and that he was going. He then left us there and went out and left.”
The businesswoman testified in the trial for the fourth and final time detailing how her older daughter told her she could not believe her sister was pregnant and said she would take her to the hospital.
“Yes, she ended up taking her,” the witness replied when prosecuting lawyer Alasan Jobe asked her if she did. The witness also said her older daughter called her and told her what she told her is true – that the younger daughter was checked and that she was indeed pregnant.
Keita’s lawyer had at the start of the session expressed concern over the ‘sitting plan’ of the witness insisting the witness should sit and face the judge. She did after the judge’s intervention.
According to the witness, her general state of mind after her daughter told her sister’s husband impregnated her was one of shame.
“At that time, I was gripped by shame,” she testified.
“Why were you ashamed?” prosecuting lawyer Alasan Jobe curiously asked.
“Because he was her elder sister’s husband and it would be a big shame if people hear about it,” the witness said.
According to the witness, she told her older daughter “we have to see what to do because this was going to be a shame if people learnt it”.
She added: “I then told [older daughter] we have to help her because she is a child. [Older daughter] said she also thought of it but when she told the doctor the doctor said it was late, the pregnancy was at an advanced stage.” When the prosecuting lawyer asked her to say what exactly she wanted to do, she said: “Just like I said, my plan was for us to sit and discuss and see what do you.”
“Tell us exactly what you wanted to do?” the lawyer asked again.
“Since the pregnancy had gone far, we wanted to sit and discuss, us and Bubacarr,” the witness replied.
“She hasn’t answered the question,” the prosecuting lawyer reacted, and added: “You said that you were very ashamed of this whole thing and you wanted to do something about it. What is that something you wanted to do about it?”
In replying, the witness said: “Since I got shame from the issue and the pregnancy was already out, I wanted us to sit and discuss.”
The judge, intervening, said: “What is ‘dumuna gayna? Interpret for her, what is that?”
The witness replied, through an interpreter: “It cannot come out because the pregnancy was advanced.”
“Tell her, so what was she intending to do if it had not come out?” the judge told the interpreter.
Keita’s lawyer then interjected: “I think we have a problem also with the way with interpret. Not ‘birr b gayna’ but ‘birr b fenyutonn’. And the other thing is that I think we can just proceed. At some point it looks like to me my learned friend is cross-examining the witness. Let’s take what the witness said.”
But Alasan Jobe responded: “I’m directing her.”
“What you want her to say, she doesn’t want to say that. You’re not cross-examining her,” Keita’s lawyer Camara countered.
The judge then said, pointing to the interpreter: “Tell the lady she had indicated she had intentions if at all the pregnancy was not out in the open. What were your intentions if otherwise?”
“What I wanted to do was to help my daughter and protect Bubacarr Keita,” the witness responded.
The witness testified elsewhere she had told her older daughter not to tell anyone about her younger daughter’s pregnancy but her older daughter told her she would tell Keita’s elder sister Awa Nding.
She said: “She told me she will call Awa Nding and inform her. I told her the reason I didn’t want you to tell Awa Nding is that I didn’t want many people to know about it, that we should keep it under the rugs and discuss with Bubacarr Keita if he closes. She then told me she too doesn’t want people to know it because if people hear that her husband impregnated my sister she would feel ashamed as they would look at her in that light.
“She told me the reason why she wanted to tell Awa Nding is that Awa Nding is reasonable and could advise her if she told her. She then told me not to be afraid, that the pregnancy will not be revealed, that she made her plan already.
“She said she would do something, [complainant] will go to school until she gives birth and she would say she is the one who gave birth. That she would be taking clothes and attaching them to her stomach. She told me not be afraid if she gives birth she would do it like that and if she spends two weeks at home, she can return to school.
“I then told her it was okay, she could tell Awa Nding. She called Awa Nding and told her. Awa Nding told her she should not say anything to Bubacarr, that she would call Bubacarr for him to go and answer to her at her house.
“When Bubacarr closed, she called me and said he had closed and [older daughter and wife of Keita at the time] was aiming veiled digs at him. I then told her to be patient, that I would come there in the morning. He told me what she is saying we could kill each other if we continue to live together. I then told him I would then have to try and come over though it was late. He then told me he was coming to pick me.”