Mass Kah to open defence in sedition trial

12 Mar
Mr Kah has denied the charge (Photo Credit: Foroyaa)

Mr Kah has denied the charge (Photo Credit: Foroyaa)

The Kanifing Magistrate Court has on Wednesday ordered Mass Kah, a messenger of the Foroyaa newspaper to open his defence in a sedition trial brought against him after it overruled a no-case-submission by lawyer Lamin S. Camara.
Camara had urged the Court on January 29 to acquit and discharge Mr Kah when he filed the no-case-submission. Kah will now open his defence on March 25 when the case resumes, according to Magistrate Isatou Janneh Njie.
“It is a general belief that the oppositions do not have good wishes or regard for the ruling party,” a police prosecutor, Sergeant Kolley has said in response to a no case to answer submission.
Mr Kah has denied a charge of “uttering seditious statement”.  It is alleged he made “negative comments” against a photo of Gambia’s President, Yahya Jammeh when he allegedly told one Lamin Camara (a prosecution witness) who was pasting a photo of Mr Jammeh on a vehicle to “paste it on the sky”.
On March 12, the Magistrate ruled: “Having carefully gone through the entire evidence adduced by the prosecutor and having also carefully considered the submission on both sides.
“It is my view that the sole issue for determination at this point is whether the prosecutor has made out a prima facie case (based on what seems to be true) requiring the accused person to be called to open his defence.”
She said the evidence as to what the accused said is confirmed by exhibit MK2 (the cautionary statement) and exhibit MK4 (the investigation report).
The defence had argued that Kah’s statement cannot amount to sedition because there is nothing in it directed against the Office of the President – but just to a photo.
However, the Magistrate said: “In my considered opinion exhibit MK1 (the photo in question) has the image of the president and thus represented him (Jammeh).”
She said from the evidence presented by prosecutor (Sergeant Kolley), the accused also uttered other statements like “Halifa Sallah is the only one who wears trousers in The Gambia.”
Janneh Njie said the statements [allegedly] uttered by Mr Kah “has the tendency to excite disaffection and ill will against the president.”
“In my opinion, the said statement[s] can also bring contempt, such as lack of respect or reverence against the president,” she said.”Based on the above statement, I therefore, ruled that the submission of no-case [to answer] by the defence on behalf of accused is hereby overruled.”
“I find that there is a prima facie case against the accused that is sufficient to call upon the accused to enter a defence,” she ruled. The trial continues on March 25, 2014.

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