Wednesday, May 25, 2011

West Coast Radio Journalist Freed At Last

Baldeh, WCR
West Coast Radio (WCR) sports producer and presenter, Bakary B. Baldeh has been exonerated of a charge on “conspiracy to commit felony” on May 24, 2011 by the Kanifing Municipal Court.
Baldeh and Almamy Jagne of the Fajara Golf Club were acquitted and discharged by Magistrate Sheriff B. Tabally on Tuesday, however, Bakary Njie, who has been cleared on the same count, has a charge, “prohibition of conduct to breach the peace” on him.
The acquittal and discharge of the accused persons followed a submission by defence counsel Pap Cheyassin Secka that the charge is not known to law. 
Though the defence consisting of three lawyers were absent on Tuesday, Police Prosecutor 335 Nying informed the Court that he do not oppose the position of the defence to expunge count one.

He said the Prosecution was advised by the Attorney General Chambers not to oppose the application.
Meanwhile, Lamin Drammeh, Lamin Tamba and Bakary Njie are still standing trial on one count of “prohibition of conduct to breach the peace”. The case has been adjourned till 7th June, 2011. The accused persons have always denied any wrong doing.
Mr. Baldeh, who works for West Coast Radio, a privately-owned FM station in Banjul was 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 Kairaba 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”.
Now that this charge has been expunged, he has been finally cleared of all criminal charges leveled against him by Gambian police.

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