‘Kerr Fatou’ Journalist’s Case Stalls

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By Louis Jobe

The unauthorised publication case presided over by Magistrate Peter Adoh Che at the Brikama Magistrates Court involving Fatou Touray of ‘Kerr Fatou” and Fatoumatta Drammeh of Paradise television, was adjourned on Thursday 11 August 2022.

When the matter resumed before the said Court, Magistrate Che dismissed the application made by Counsel Abdoul Aziz  Bensouda on the clarity of the charge sheet stating that Section 217 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) states that after a charge sheet is read to the accused persons, the defendants’ counsel shall raise an objection to the charge sheet prior to plea taking, by the accused persons. He also cited Section 161 of the same CPC.

However, Bensouda’s application on the clarity of the charge sheet was dismissed by the Court

Counsel for the plaintiff Malick H.B. Jallow, then applied for an adjournment due to his official functions and travel schedule, but Counsel Bensouda objected, arguing that on the last adjourned date, the matter was scheduled for ruling and possible hearing; that prosecution witnesses should have known that the matter was scheduled for hearing to ensure their attendance.

According to Bensouda, the witnesses are not more important than the accused persons and therefore urged the court not to allow the prosecution to drag the court in this case. He said if the accused persons were absent, their bail would have been revoked. 

At this juncture, Counsel Jallow responded that the law and cost should be handled judicially and judiciously, and further alleged that the first accused person Fatou Touray, wasted thirty minutes of the Court’s time on the last adjourned date, and was not fined.

The trial Magistrate granted the prosecution’s application for adjournment. Consequently, the matter was adjourned to 30th August, 2022 for hearing at 10am-3Pm.

If readers can recall, the two are charged with “unauthorised publication of proceedings from the children’s court,” contrary to the laws of the Gambia.

According to their particulars of offence, Fatou Touray and Fatoumatta Drammeh, sometime between the months of January and February 2021, published the matter of Samsudeen Phatey vs Neneh J. Thompson which is pending at the Children’s Court without authorisation of the said Court, and thereby committed an offence. They both pleaded not guilty as charged.