Fisherman testifies in Trial of 2 Journalists

By Mamadou Dem

Lamin Kanteh, a fisherman living in Tanji Village, who also doubles as theTwo journalish APRC Chairman in the village and fourth prosecution witness in the ongoing “Conspiracy to commit a felony and publication of false news with intent to cause fear and alarm to the public” case involving Sainey M.K Marena, then freelance reporter and Musa Sheriff, Editor in Chief and proprietor of the Voice Newspaper, on Monday, 21 July 2014, told the Banjul Magistrates’ court that they read from the said newspaper that 19th Green Youths defected from the APRC party to UDP.

He told the Court that they called each other to meet at the alkalo’s residence, adding that the youth leader in Tanji stated that what was read in the paper was not true.

At this stage, the defence lawyer interjected and urged the court to expunge that piece of evidence because it was hearsay.

Continuing his testimony, PW4 said they investigated the said publication and realised that it was not true because some members of the green youth were in Kanilai, Brikama, Batokunku and Kanfing. He added that they later contacted the Voice medium and that reporter Mafugi Ceesay was sent to them. He said he enquired from Mr. Ceesay whether those people who defected from the APRC party to UDP do not have names and also whether they did not explain the reason of their defection.

PW4 testified that during their preliminary investigations, they were able to have the 58 green youth in Tanji, adding that he gave a statement at Tujreng Police Station which was admitted as exhibit.

Under cross examination, counsel Lamin Camara asked the witness whether he is responsible for the movements of the members of the green youth to and fro Tanji.

“No it is our youth leader,” said the witness.

The defence counsel put it to him that hence he is not responsible for their movements, then he cannot tell whether they were in Tanji on that particular day. The witness responded in the affirmative, adding that he does not have a registrar of the green youth in Tanji.

The case was adjourned to Wednesday, 23 July 2014.

Hearing on July 23rd, 2014.

Meanwhile, when the case resumed yesterday, Wednesday, 23 July, 2014 for continuation of hearing, it was further adjourned to July 30th on the grounds that the magistrate was engaged in a meeting at the High Court.

The particulars of offence on count one states that Sainey M.K. Marenah and Musa S. Sheriff, on or about the 6th of December, 2013 in the city of Banjul and diverse places in the republic of the Gambia, conspired among themselves to publish on the Voice newspaper medium caption “19 GREEN YOUTHS JOIN THE OPPOSITION UDP” dated 6th December 2013, Vol-6 No117 ISSN: 0796-1308, thereby committed an offence.

According to the particulars of offence on count two, the same accused persons on or about the 6th of December, 2013 in the city of Banjul and diverse places in the republic of the Gambia, whilst employed as Editor in Chief and reporter respectively at the Voice newspaper medium, you made a publication with a caption “19 GREEN YOUTHS JOIN THE OPPOSITION UDP” dated 6th December 2013, Vol-6 No117 ISSN: 0796-1308, knowing or having reason to believe that the said publication is likely to cause fear to the public or disturb the public peace, thereby committed an offence.