Friday, April 26, 2013

Trial against Gambian journalist rescheduled

Jobe's trial could not proceed on Tuesday

Denied Bail Once More

A criminal trial brought against the Deputy Editor-In-Chief of the Daily Observer, Alagie Jobe which was due to continue on April 22, 2013 has been moved to April 30.

The trial suffered setback after the Kanifing Magistrates Court was told the first prosecution witness Jawor Darboe is out of jurisdiction.

Alagie Jobe is facing seven criminal charges, the most serious of which, is sedition.

He is being tried alongside Mbaye Bittaye, an employee of the mobile telephony company, Africell, who is charged with “unlawful inquiries relating to possibility of forgery”. Both have pleaded their innocence since March 12 this year when they first appeared at the lower court.

On Tuesday, Magistrate Hilary Abeke, presiding, adjourned the trial till April 30. He had earlier questioned the whereabouts of Alagie Jobe who was conspicuously absent in Court. 

However, Jobe’s defence counsel Ebrima Jah referred Magistrate Abeke to the state counsel, A.M. Yusuf.

Prosecutor Yusuf told the court Jobe is at the High Court in Banjul where a ruling on his bail application was to be delivered in the afternoon. He said Mr Jobe has some documents to prepare at the High Court.

Refused bail

 Yusuf also said the first witness Jawor, a police officer, had traveled out of the country on an official mission. He subsequently applied for an adjournment. The defence did not object to his application.

Last week, State prosecutors take over the trial from the police. Hearing continues next Tuesday.  

While Jobe's trial failed to proceed at the lower court on Tuesday, he was refused bail at the High Court in Banjul, the capital. The April 23, 2013 ruling is the second from the Court that maintains its position on denial.

Justice Mikailu Abdullah, presiding, is not convinced that Mr Jobe, who is standing trial at a lower court on a multiple charges including sedition, will not jump bail if granted.

The former Director of Public Prosecution said “if in an application for bail pending trial, there is good reason to believe or strongly suspect that the accused will jump bail and making himself available to stand his trial thereby constituting an obstacle in the way of justice, the court will be acting within its undoubted discretion to refuse bail”.

Mikailu said the main function of bail is to ensure the presence of the applicant at the trial.
 The Deputy Editor-In-Chief of the pro-government Daily Observer newspaper has been under State custody since his arrest in early February this year.

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