Thursday, April 11, 2013

More charges against Daily Observer editor

Daily Observer Editor Alagie Jobe has been in State custody since his arrest in February 2013
Police prosecutors on Tueaday filed two additional charges at the Kanifing Municipal Magistrates Court against Daily Observer deputy editor Alagie Jobe. 

A previous charge on “making document without authority” which was dropped by the prosecution on April 2 has been restored, and a charge of “reckless and negligent act” added on April 9, 2013.

Jobe who earlier pleaded not guilty to six charges of “Seditious intent”, “seditious publication”, “possession of seditious publication”, “giving false information to a public officer”, and “forgery”, also denied the latest charges against him.

His co-accused Mbaye Bittaye, a staff of the mobile telephony company Africell, still faces a charge of “unlawful inquiries relating to possibility of forgery”, which he denied.

The police accuse Mr Jobe of publishing on a 19th December 2012 purported edition of the Daily Observer that “Major Lamin Touray is on the run for imminent re-arrest and detention and charged in absentia for breach of office ethics and codes, by refusing to take orders in execution of some people”.

On April 9, prosecutor Superintendent Sainey Joof filed in the new charges under section 169 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), but, Jobe’s lawyer Ebrima Jah argued that the same section 169 does not allow for the amendment of suit by the prosecution.

However, Magistrate Hilary Abeke, presiding, maintains the seven charges against Jobe and the single charge against Bittaye.

Abeke also expunge a charge on “seditious intention” which prosecutor Joof included in his “new charges” after the court realize there is an earlier charge of seditious intention against Mr Jobe.

A police sergeant Jawor Keita of the Major Crime Unit in Banjul, gave evidence.

He said he was called to join a panel of investigators and was part of a team the accompanied Jobe to Tallinding Primary School where he was arrested.

He said photographs of a white Mercedize Benz (Observer 2) taken and a thorough search conducted at Jobe’s house but nothing was found in connection to the allegations against the journalist.

Keita said Jobe wrote a cautionary statement in the presence of an independent witness after returning at the headquarters of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) in Banjul where he was previously detained.

Hearing continues on 16 April, 2013.

Written by Modou S. Joof

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