Justice Amadi said there was no seditious statement in the publication’ edition’ of Observer in December 2012 that “Major Lamin Touray is on the run” adding that the prosecution did not prove the allegations preferred against Jobe.
The two men were visibly overwhelmed with joy when the judge declared them not guilty of all the six counts of making an act with seditious intention, seditious publication, and possession of seditious publication, giving false information to public servant, and committing a reckless and negligent act.
“There is no a word or expression in the publication that leads to any seditious intention as alleged. The prosecution bears the brunt to prove its case against the accused persons but did not prove who authorised the first accused (Jobe) to run the story or whether it was given to him by Pa Malick Faye [self-exiled former Observer managing director]. They did not prove all the seditious charges against the accused person, (Jobe),” Justice Amadi said before freeing him and his co-accused.
Jobe who maintained his innocent even after the testimonies of four witnesses was accused of publishing and being in possession of an ‘edition’ of Observer in December 2012 that a “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” with intent to bring hatred and to excite disaffection against the person of the president of The Gambia and the government of The Gambia.
He was also accused of giving false information to the management of the Observer Company and the general public by publishing the story in the Daily Observer newspaper which he knew was false.
According to the judge, the nature of the offence that editor Jobe gave false information was not specified on the particulars of offence. “The charge is vague and I notice the first accused s did not show any attempt to implicate any person in his statement at the panel of the NIA. There is no evidence to the alleged false information charge. The prosecution also failed to prove this against him.”
He said the evidence of the state witnesses did not contradict the evidence of editor Jobe that the NIA caused the reckless driving. “There is no evidence to contradict the accused person. I believed the arresting officers from the NIA made the accused to swerve and I hold that the prosecutions also failed in this aspect.”
The judge held that the evidence of Mr Bittaye stands and was not challenged in court by the prosecutor. “His evidence stands uncontradicted. The prosecution did not cross-examine him after his testimony and I therefore acquit and discharge the accused persons,” the judge said.
It is not known whether the state will appeal the judgement.]]>