Saturday, April 16, 2011

Setback in West Coast Radio Journalist trial

BB Baldeh, WCR
The criminal trail brought against West Coast Radio (WCR) sports producer and presenter, Bakary B. Baldeh has suffered a setback, after it failed to proceed at the Kanifing Municipal Magistrate Court on April 12, 2011.
Mr. Baldeh is facing one count of “Conspiracy to commit felony”, he has since denied any wrong doing and he is being represented by Counsel Lamin S. Camara.
On Tuesday, he made his fourth appearance at the lower court, but the case could not go ahead as scheduled, following an application for an adjournment by another police prosecutor, Inspector Mballow.
He informed the Court that the prosecutor handling the case, Assistant Superintendent Camara is on leave and he (Mballow) cannot proceed with the case since he is not yet familiar with the case and doesn’t even have the case file.
The defence made no objection to the application and Magistrate Sheriff B. Tabally adjourned the case till April 28 at 10am.

Mr. Baldeh, a sports producer and presenter of West Coast Radio, a privately-owned FM station is being tried together with four members of the Fajara Golf Club, over a February 11 sports programme, which the Gambian authorities claimed to be criminal.
The charges followed Baldeh’s hosting of two aggrieved golf workers (Caddies) who had accused Ebrima Jawara, President of the Gambia Golf Association and the son of former President Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara, of unfair treatment during a recent national golf tournament in the country, sponsored by President Yahya Jammeh.
Baldeh was arrested on March 23 after being invited to the Karaiba police station in the Kanifing Municipality together with the station’s proprietor, Peter Gomez and another reporter, Hagie Drammeh. While Gomez and Drammeh were released after being grilled, Baldeh was held for three days. He was released on March 25 after making his first appearance in court.
During his third appearance in court on Thursday, March 31, the lower court decided to struck-out Count Two “Incitement to Violence, leaving Baldeh to be faced with a charge of “Conspiracy to commit felony”.
The small court room was packed with a host of sports journalists from the print and electronic, including senior sports writers and members of the Sport Journalists Association of The Gambia (SJAG), family members and sympathizers.

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