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Two Point journalists appear at high court, following publication on ex-igp Badjie's trial

Aug 10, 2010, 1:02 PM | Article By: Baboucarr Senghore

Two journalists of The Point Newspaper yesterday Monday appeared before Justice Emmanuel Amadi of the high court in Banjul.

Abba A.S. Gibba deputy Editor-in-Chief and Sainey M.K. Marenah, Senior Judicial Reporter respectively, were summoned by the judge to clarify a story carried in the paper with regards to the ongoing trial of former police chief Ensa Badjie.

The two journalists were questioned by the judge, as to the veracity of the story, which was carried in the Friday's edition of the paper, entitled "My Client was Tortured to Obtained Statement, Says Defence Counsel."

The Point Newspaper reported that at last Thursday's proceedings of the case, the lawyer for the ex-police chief told the court that his client was tortured to obtain a cautionary statement from him.

According to the judge, this statement which the paper said was uttered by defence counsel Borry Touray in court was, in fact, not said in court.

"There was no time when this statement was said in court. This is not what the defence counsel said," Justice Amadi told the journalists.

However, the reporter told the presiding judge that he got the statement from the submission of the defence counsel at last Thursday's court proceedings.

"Are you sure this was said by the defence counsel?" asked Justice Amadi. "Yes, my lord," replied Sainey Marenah, The Point's senior court reporter.

"What you put in your headline was wrong," the judge told the journalist.

At that juncture, lawyer Antouman Gaye, representing The Point rose and told the court that for the sake of clarity and in the interest of justice, two other major newspapers wrote the same thing which The Point did.

Lawyer Gaye handed copies of Foroyaa, Daily Observer and The Point newspapers to the judge for him to read.

After going through all the newspapers, the judge concluded that although all the papers got the same information he, as the trial judge, did not hear defence counsel Touray utter this statement in court.

He then invited defence counsel BS Touray to state whether he made the said statement in court.

Counsel in response, declared "Yes, my lord. I said this in this court."

"Fine, since, it is himself (defence counsel) who said so, let the world take it that he said it, but I did not hear this said in court. OK, then you (the journalists) can go," Justice Amadi concluded.

Lawyer Antouman Gaye appearing for The Point was assisted by lawyer Lamin Camara.