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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Snapchat nude video suspects freed

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By Aisha Tamba

Principal Magistrate of the Kanifing court, Omar Jabang, has yesterday acquitted and discharged Maimuna Jallow and Maju Samba accused of distributing nude videos on Snapchat.

The duo was charged with trafficking obscene publication and the ruling to free them came after defense Counsel LS Camara made a submission of a no-case to answer.

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According to the court indictment, Maimuna Jallow and Maju Samba distributed nude videos of one Fatou Ceesay on Snapchat.

According to the complainant, Fatou Ceesay in her evidence, had an issue with the accused persons on a WhatsApp chatgroup and that she was bullied by them in back-and-forth audios and text messages.

In her evidence in chief, Ms Ceesay told the court she believes that the two nude videos and a picture found on social media were sent to Maju Samba by her ex-boyfriend one Jamel in Senegal and Maju sent the videos to Maimuna who in turn sent them to her friends for circulation.

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In his application, Counsel Lamin Camara pointed out that the prosecution called one witness who is the complainant and that is the only evidence in respect of the charge. “It is our submission that if and only if the videos were tendered in this court, then this court will be in a position to require the accused persons to enter in defense.”

He argued that the court can only imagine what the video of the nude looks like. “Without the videos and pictures before this court, there is nothing before this court in support of the evidence of PW1,” Lawyer Camara stated.

He pleaded to the court to discharge and acquit his clients because the prosecution had failed to produce evidence in support of the case.

In response to the submission by the defense, Police Commissioner Sanneh relied on Section 3 of the Evidence Act, stating that even though the prosecution called in one witness but the testimony of the witness has made the prosecution’s case relevant.  He raised the question that if the videos were not shared by the accused persons how did the complainant get the videos in her phone.

Magistrate Jabang ruled in favor of the defense application. He said in the case at hand, the distribution mode or channel used by the first and second accused to circulate the nude video of Fatou Ceesay is crucial to the facts of this court. “Their production will detail out the nature of the allegation by the PW1. In the absence of the said distribution mode, the claim is heresay evidence.”

He added that a heresay evidence fundamentally is frown at because the evidence referred to is not tendered. Thus, the accuracy of the statement cannot be tendered into cross-examination. 

He stated that there is no evidence in court that the accused persons shared the videos as the videos are not tendered in court as evidence.

“I am not a speculative forum. I only believe what is available before and not carried away by some speculative imaginaries.”

Magistrate Jabang added that the evidence of the prosecution especially in the absence of the nude videos and distribution and circulation mode makes it unreliable and no reasonable tribunal in any civilised legal system can convict the accused persons.

“They fall short proving the allegation. This court is a reasonable tribunal which is operating in very civilised legal system, with respect and regard to the principles of law and justice and guided by these principles as a court of law. Therefore, the accused persons have no case to answer and are hereby acquitted and discharged,” he ruled.    

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