read an article authored by GPU Secretary General, Saikou Jammeh, entitled:
“The Gambia: towards a one-stop media regulator” which was published in your
edition of 10th December, 2018. He dwelled on a story I published in “The
Point” newspaper about a Nigerian national who was arraigned before the
Kanifing High Court for alleged rape, indecent assault etc.
His argument was that I mentioned the names of the complainants. He stated in his article: “When you publish the names of underage sex abuse victims and describe the graphic nature of it, that’s reckless.”
Did I publish the names of ‘underage sex abuse victims’? Who abused them in the first place?
According to court sources, the complainants are not minors.There are no victims in the case but complainants. Saikou Jammeh has taken the position of a judge and passed sentence on the accused. Did the accused abuse the complainants sexually? Can he prove that the accused sexually abused the complainants? It is unfortunate that he cannot differentiate between ‘victims’ and ‘complainants’.
I would advise Saikou Jammeh to revisit section 24 of the constitution (presumption of innocence). The accused person is presumed innocent until and unless he pleads guilty or he is found guilty. Saikou Jammeh can be charged with contempt of court for condemning the accused person while the case is ongoing.
The word ‘victims’ may or may not come at the end of the case, but not now. The complainants complained and the accused person was taken to court to be tried. The purpose of the trial is to determine whether the complaint is true.
The prosecution should prove its case beyond reasonable doubt, and if there is any shadow of doubt, the benefit goes to the accused. It is the court that will decide whether the prosecution has proven its case.
Saikou Jammeh will agree with me that as at now, no-one has been abused sexually by the accused. This will be known at the end of the case. It is an allegation.
I rest my case.
Senior Judicial Correspondent at
“The Point” newspaper.