Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Trial of journalist Jobe fails to proceed again, witness is ‘sick’

Alagie Jobe is still in custody from February  2013
The criminal trial against Alagie Jobe, Deputy Editor of the pro-government Daily Observer newspaper has been moved to May 7, 2013 after it failed to proceed once again on Tuesday.

The Kanifing Magistrates Court, which is presiding over the case, was told on April 30 that “first prosecution witness Jawor Darboe is sick”.

Exactly a week ago, the trial could not proceed after it was announced that the police officer has traveled out of The Gambia.

Jobe is facing seven criminal charges including sedition. He has pleaded not guilty since March 12 this year when he first appeared at the lower court.

On Tuesday, Magistrate Hilary Abeke, presiding, was told State prosecutor A.M Yusuf sent an SMS (short message on mobile phone) to defence counsel Seega Gaye that he would not be in court because the first prosecution witness Jawor Darboe is sick.

Seega Gaye, defence counsel for Jobe’s co-accused Mbaye Bittaye, lamented that the first witness last testified three weeks ago. He admitted that prosecutor Yusuf text him saying his witness is sick, but, urges the Court to strikeout the case.

Gaye said the prosecution should have written to court to explain why it is not represented in court. He also laments the continued detention of the first accused, Alagie Jobe.

“My lord, we are reminding the Court that the Alagie Jobe is still in state custody. You can strikeout the case until the State ready to proceed with the trial,” said Gaye, who was holding brief for Jobe’s lawyer Ebrima Jah.

He said the prosecution is yet to comply with the Court order to serve the defence with Jobe’s cautionary and voluntary statements.

Gaye’s application for the case to be struck-out, the accused persons be acquitted and discharged was overruled by Magistrate Abeke.

The trial is expected to continue next Tuesday.

Jobe was denied bail once more on April 23 by the High Court in Banjul, the capital city of The Gambia and has been under State custody since his arrest in early February this year.

His co-accused Mbaye Bittaye, an employee of the mobile telephony company, Africell, who has been granted bail by the High Court, is facing a charge of “unlawful inquiries relating to possibility of forgery”.

He too has pleaded not guilty since March 12. READ ORIGINAL STORY HERE

Written by Modou S. Joof

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