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NIA officer continues testimony in UDP militant’s trial

Mar 21, 2014, 10:17 AM | Article By: Malamin L.M. Conteh

The broadcasting without a licence trial involving Lasanna Jobarteh, a militant of the main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP), Tuesday continued before Principal Magistrate Ibrahim Kijera of the Bundung Magistrates’ Court.

Continuing his testimony, the second prosecution witness (PW2), Sheriff Sonko, an NIA operative, was asked by the prosecuting officer to look at the exhibit and to tell who Pa Ndery M’bai was communicating with.

The witness stated that according to the document, Pa Ndery M’bai was communicating with Mr Jobarteh.

Under cross-examination by defence counsel Ousainou Darboe, who asked the witness whether he would agree that the said document was a newspaper publication, the witness said it was not a newspaper publication.

The witness was asked what type of publication the document was, if it was not a newspaper publication, but the witness replied that it was a statement obtained from the accused by the “Freedom Newspaper”.

He admitted that the paragraph he had read under the instruction of the prosecutor was written by the editor of the “Freedom Newspaper”.

At that juncture, the defence counsel asked the witness to read again the paragraph of the document which was admitted in evidence as exhibit, which the witness did.

After reading the said paragraph, he was asked by the counsel whether he was able to verify from the editor of the “Freedom Newspaper”, Pa Ndery M’bai, that he did not speak to Mr Jobarteh on Sunday, but the witness answered in the negative.

The witness admitted that he knows Skype, and he knows that it was a system on the smart phone.

Further asked where Freedom was located, he said it was located in the USA. “I know Radio France International and I know about BBC,” he said. Asked by the defence counsel whether it was correct he heard people speaking to BBC on Africa service from The Gambia, the witness said he did not know the medium they used.

“I heard people speaking to the BBC from The Gambia, but I do not know who issued the broadcasting licence,” he said. The case continues on 31 March 2014, for defence.

The accused, Lasana Jobarteh, was charged with broadcasting without a licence contrary to the information and communication Act.

The police accused Lasana Jobarteh that between 14 and 15 December 2013, while attending UDP political rallies at Buffer Zone in the KMC, Brikama and diverse places, talked on Skype using an IPOD and giving information abroad without a broadcasting licence and thereby committed an offence.