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Point Boss Appears in Court, Pleads Not Guilty

Feb 5, 2009, 4:52 AM | Article By: Dawda Faye

Mr Pap Saine, Co-Publisher and Managing Editor of The Point Newspaper was yesterday Wednesday 4thFebruary 2009 arraigned before Magistrate Sagarr Jahateh of the Kanifing Magistrates' Court charged with false publication and broadcasting, in a court room packed to capacity. Every inch of space was taken up by colleagues, fans and well-wishers of all classes.

Mr. Saine denies the charges.

At yesterday's sitting, defense counsel Modou Lamin Drammeh applied for the court to grant the accused bail on the grounds that the accused has been a well-known journalist since 1970 and has been the Editor of The Point since 1991.

He stated that several factors should be considered when in a pre-trial.

Police prosecutor, Inspector Fadera opposed bail on the grounds that investigations are still ongoing. He told the court that investigations were ongoing and that the accused would tamper with the prosecution's witnesses if granted bail. He urged the court to remand the accused in custody.

However defense counsel Drammeh argued that the likelihood of appearance of the accused person should be considered and whether he had a criminal record. He cited some authorities to support his argument.

Furthermore, he stated that the accused has no criminal record and that the offence was not serious. He added that the nature of the accused shows that he is a respected man who was even decorated by the State and it is likely that he would not tamper with the investigations. He referred the court to section 99 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Lawyer Drammeh further argued that the prosecution had not stated that the offence is such that the accused should not be granted bail. He said that every individual has a constitutional right to be granted bail and that the accused is unlikely to endanger the safety of the public neither is he likely to intimidate the witnesses. He cited cases of journalists Lamin Fatty, Fatou Jaw Manneh, Mam Sait Ceesay and Malick Jones who were charged with the same offence and were granted bail.

In her ruling, Magistrate Sagarr Jahateh said that the offence, which the accused was charged with is bailable and that it is not a serious one. Considering the accused person's status in society it was unlikely that he would skip bail.

She finally stated that the prosecution could not prove that the accused would skip bail and subsequently granted the accused bail in the sum of D50, 000 with a Gambian surety.

The case was adjourned to Thursday the 19thFebruary 2009 for hearing.