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Six Journalists Remanded Again

Jul 6, 2009, 5:42 AM

The Banjul High Court presided over by Justice Joseph Wowo on Friday 3rd July 2009 remanded six Gambian journalists: Pap Saine - Co-publisher and Managing Editor of The Point Newspaper, Ebrima Sawaneh - News Editor of The Point Newspaper, Pa Modou Faal - Treasurer of the Gambia Press Union, Bai Emily Touray - Secretary General of the Gambia Press Union, Sam Sarr - Editor of the Foroyaa Newspaper and Aboubacarr Saidykhan - a reporter with the Foroyaa Newspaper who are charged with five counts, ranging from seditious publication to criminal defamation.

Justice Wowo ordered the accused persons to be remanded in custody at the Mile II State Central Prisons pending their lawyers' filing a formal bail application before the court.

Meanwhile, Sarata Jibba-Dibba, a breast-feeding mother was later granted bail with the same bail conditions granted to her earlier by the Kanifing Magistrates' Court.

At the High Court proceeding on Friday, Senior Counsel Antuman Gaye, who represented the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and the 7th accused persons told the court that his clients had not taken their plea in all the charges.

The 6th accused person, Sam Sarr who represented himself also told the court that he's not taking plea to all the charges. He said the position taken by the accused persons was a legal issue.

Senior Counsel Gaye added that counts 1, 2, and 3, are all pending at the Magistrates' Court, and that it would tantamount to an abuse of the court's proceeeding.

He said he had checked at the Kanifing Magistrates' Court before coming to court and it was not withdrawn, adding that the subject matter at the Kanifing Magistrates' Court cannot be the same subject matter at the High Court. He disclosed that the accused did not take pleas at the Magistrates' Court, but were granted bail.

The Director of Public Prosecution, R.N. Chenge, said filing a case at the Magistrates' Court was to avoid the accused being detained at the NIA and that was the reason why the case was filed at the Magistrates' Court.

He said at the Magistrates' Court the plea was not taken.

DPP Chenge further told the court that the Magistrates' Court was only holding charges that would be withdrawn.

Justice Joseph Wowo later ordered the defense counsel of the accused persons to file a formal application for any objection.

The case was adjourned to 8th July 2009.