LESSONS FOR COURT JOURNALISTS Focus on the Kindi Jallow case

Foroyaa did mention that the case of Kindi Jallow versus Ocean Bay was stalled seven times but this report was disputed by court authorities. The lesson is about the language to use in court reporting and the source of facts for court reporters. Foroyaa will like to share the lessons it has drawn from the experience of retracting this story. Stalling is commonly interchanged with adjournment. However it can be interpreted in many ways which may be taken for a deliberate attempt not to allow a case to proceed. Hence a journalist covering a case should use the word stalling only if the plaintiff appears before the magistrate on many occasions without the appearance of the defendant or his or her lawyer and nothing is done by the court to compel appearance or proceed with the case. However if a magistrate is absent due to illness or legitimate engagement or if adjournment is due to a change in the composition of the court one could refer to this as delay in the process but not necessarily stalling the case. In the case of Kindi Jallow the current president of the tribunal has only recently occupied this seat.

It is a principle of jurisprudence that justice delayed is justice denied. Hence it is in the interest of administrators of the law, the plaintiff and defendants to work together to ensure the speedy delivery of justice. Foroyaa reporters in particular and court reporters in general should coin the right caption couched in facts gathered independently and directly from the court proceedings. This is the only way to prevent the type of retraction of story as has happened in the case mentioned.