Apr 14, 2016, 11:07 AM
The criminal trial involving deputy editor-in-chief of the Daily Observer newspaper, Alhagie Jobe, and one Mbye Bittaye, continued yesterday at the Special Criminal Court in Banjul before Justice Emmanuel Nkea.
It continued with the cross-examination of the first prosecution witness (PW1), Jawor Keita, a police officer attached to the major crime unit at police headquarters in Banjul.
Alhagie Jobe was being tried on a five-count charge of making an act with seditious intention, seditious publication, and possession of seditious publication, giving false information to public servant, and reckless and negligent, while Mbye Bittaye was being tried on a single count of making preparation to do act with seditious intention.
Officer Keita, under crossed-examination, told the court that the author of the article in question was one Ousainou Dumbuya.
Asked about the whereabouts of the said Ousainou Dumbuya, he said he did not know the whereabouts of Dumbuya.
“We tried to locate him, but it proved futile,” he said, stating that on the face of the article was Dumbuya.
The witness added that he was not sure whether Ousainou Dumbuya was the author.
He stated that it was the 1st accused who should lead the investigators to Dumbuya, adding that he did not know whether Dumbuya worked at the Observer newspaper.
“I did not enquire whether Dumbuya works at the Observer newspaper,” he told the court.
He further stated that at the time of the alleged publication of the said article, one Saidy was the MD at the Observer newspaper.
“I found out who the editor-in-chief was, but I did not interview him,” officer Keita told the court, stating that his investigation was fully adequate.
Officer Keita added that he did not know whether the article was written by Dumbuya, adding that he did not know whether the then MD authorised publication of the said article.
“I did not know whether the 1st accused, Alhagie Jobe, had authority for the said article to be published,” he said.
The defence counsel, E. Jah, then put it to the witness that it was the then MD, Pa Malick Faye, who authorized publication of the article, but the witness replied that the said article was recovered from the 1st accused person’s personal laptop.
The witness was further asked whether Jobe’s office at the Observer has a desktop computer, but the witness said he was not physically present when the search was conducted in the office.
“I was not present when the 1st accused’s vehicle was searched, but I was present when a search was conducted in the house of the 1st accused, but nothing illegal was found there,” he stated.
PW1, under cross-examination, told the court that his investigation was not biased, but was impartial.
He admitted knowing that Pa Malick Faye had fled the jurisdiction.
The defence counsel then put it to the witness that this was a setup against the 1st accused, but the witness said he did not know about that.
Keita told the court that the statements were written by the 1st accused, who was never forced to write anything, adding that the statement of the 1st accused was voluntary.
“I had earlier told this court that I was not the arresting officer. I did not conduct any search on the vehicle. I found the vehicle where it was stuck,” he adduced.
The case continues on 16 July 2013.