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Journalists 2 trial continues

Feb 20, 2014, 9:22 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

The first prosecution witness yesterday continued to testify in the trial involving two journalists, at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court, before senior Magistrate Lamin Mbye.

Yesterday saw the admission of two copies of The Voice newspaper publication, following a ruling delivered by the court on the objection made by the defence.

Musa Sheriff, editor-in-chief and publisher of the newspaper, and Sainey M.K. Marena, a freelance journalist, were charged with conspiracy to cause a misdemeanor, and publication of false news with intent to cause fear and alarm to the public, which both denied.

Continuing his testimony, the first prosecution witness, Lamin Jammeh, a police officer, told the court that after completing their investigation the panel compiled the report in a computer.

The panel then attached to it a copy of the newspaper’s edition of December 2013, and it was printed and signed by the panel members.

Asked by the prosecuting officer, Corporal 4404 Camara, whether he could to identify the panel’s report if shown to him, the witness identified the report through the panel members’ signatures.

It was tendered in evidence and marked as an exhibit without any objection from the defence counsel.

Under cross-examination, defence counsel LS Camara asked the witness whether he has a record of all the Green Youths in the country, and the witness said he does not have such a record.

The witness further told the court that he does not know all the Green Youths in the country, but knows of 58 Green Youths in Tanji village in the West Coast Region.

Further asked by counsel how many Green Youths he spoke to during their investigation, the witness said he spoke to five of them, including Sainey Manneh the APRC spokesperson.

Aji Ousman Jallow is the leader of the Green Youths in The Gambia, he said.

Told by counsel that they spoke to only five people during the investigation, then the panel assumed that the publication was false, the witness told the court that it was through the reaction of Sainey Manneh, the APRC spokesperson, who told them that the said publication was false.

When asked whether, apart from the 5 people spoken to, did they have any evidence that the said publication was false, the witness answered in the affirmative.

He said the statement of Musa Sheriff the editor-in-chief, had proven that the publication was false.

At that juncture, the case was adjourned for continuation today.

Sainey M.K. Marena and Musa Sheriff in count one were accused that on 6 December 2013 in Banjul and diverse places, they conspired to cause a misdemeanor by publishing in The Voice newspaper a story with the headline: “19 Green Youths join the opposition UDP” and dated 6 December 2013, and thereby committed an offence.

In count two, the two journalists were accused that they made the publication knowing or having reason to believe that it was likely to cause fear to the public or disturb the public peace, and thereby committed an offence.