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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Judge frowns on doctor’s absence in Observer editor’s case

Prof Mustapha Ebrihim Ali Khail didn’t turn up in court as demanded by Judge Amadi. The court ordered for his appearance and also requested X-ray and medical file of Alhajie Jobe. However, Prof Khail sent a lab technician, Ebrima Jallow, who told the court that Prof Khail was engaged in a management meeting. 

“Prof told me to say why he cannot tender the documents in this court. And the reason I have not brought the requested document is that we don’t know which Alhajie Jobe the subpoena (summon) was talking about,” Jallow said.   

The presiding judge could not hide his displeasure; threatening to hold Prof Khail in contempt should he fail to appear before him on Monday. “I’m not satisfied at all. He is ordered to come and give evidence. If he fails to come, he has committed contempt. If he doesn’t come on Monday, this court will take it that he has disregarded the court order,” he said.  

The former Observer deputy editor is standing trial on a five-count charge of making an act with sedition intention, seditious publication, and possession of seditious publication, giving false information to public servant, and reckless and negligent act. His co-accused, Mbye Bittaye, is facing a single count of making preparation to do an act with seditious intention. They have both pleaded not guilty.

Meanwhile, the case took a different dimension after Jobe’s lawyer claimed that his client was tortured, pressuring the court to settle the dust over the allegation. This resulted in a trial within a trial before the case could proceed to the main trial. However, Jobe’s torture allegation prior to making his statements before a panel of investigators at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), was dismissed.

Jobe’s lawyers have made several attempts to secure his release from state custody since his arrest on 7 February 2013 without success.  The case resumes on 26 May.

 

By Binta Bah

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