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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

NIA 9 lawyer warns against bias media coverage

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By Baba Sillah

Barrister CE Mene, counsel for Yankuba Badgie, the former director general of NIA yesterday lodged a complaint before a High Court in Banjul regarding the manner and the way the proceedings of the trial involving his clients are reported in the media.

He singled out Star FM’s newspaper review in Mandinka presented by Sarjo Barrow as an example.
Complaining before Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara, the lawyer said inasmuch as the extensive coverage of the trial is appreciated, he will not accept misrepresentation of facts by any media.

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“My Lord before we make any progress I have an issue concerning the coverage by the media in this trial. I am reliably informed by my client that the evidence given by the witnesses is being misinterpreted by the media especially on the radio. It was reported on Star FM by one Sarjo Barrow that my client [Yankuba Badgie] was present when Solo Sandeng was tortured which is confusing and sending bad signal to the public. So I am appealing to the court for the matter to be reported correctly as transpired in the court in order to avoid confusion,” he said.

Mene warned that if the incident happens again he will file charges of contempt against the person or any other person.
Reacting to the counsel’s complaint, the presiding judge advised the media to make fair and factual reporting on what transpires in the court, as the accused persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty by the court.

Meanwhile, there was no testimony yesterday after the state deputy chief prosecutor MB Abubacarr appealed to the court to grant him two-week adjournment.

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According to the deputy chief prosecutor, they are constrained with prevailing circumstances. He said the Attorney General is carrying out conference with the ministry in respect of the conduct of the case, which involved other counsel joining, or taking conduct of the case, which requires time to study the case.
He finally prayed to the court to grant them adjournment to enable them to study the case to prepare themselves before the next adjourned date.

Lawyers however did not object to the adjournment but raised the fundamental rights of their clients to speedy and fair trial citing Section 24 of the Constitution, which they said, is not negotiable.
After listening keenly from both sides, the trial judge adjourned the case to May 15 for mentioning and 21 for hearing.

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