The Lawyer for Yankuba Badjie, the first accused person in the ongoing trial of the nine ex-NIA officers facing murder charges at the High Court have complained bitterly to what he called ‘the deliberate misreporting of the witnesses testimonies’ by Mandinka radio presenter Sarjo Barrow of Star FM.
The accused person reported to his lawyer that Star FM presenter Sarjo Barrow abruptly distorted the facts and evidence of state witnesses in his news presentations.
The erstwhile NIA Director General Yankuba Badjie and eight others namely; Louis Richard Leese Gomez, his deputy, Saihou Omar Jeng, ex- director of operations, Babucarr Sallah, Yusupha Jammeh, Haruna Susso, Tamba Masireh, Lamin Darboe and Lamin Lang Sanyang, are charged with twelve counts offences, ranging from conspiracy to commit murder, murder, assault causing actual bodily harm amongst other charges.
The state has so far called two witnesses who have testified in court.
Lawyer C.E Mene standing for the first accused person Yankuba Badjie told the court that the facts of the witnesses are always misreported in the local language by Sarjo Barrow of Star FM Radio.
“I encourage the media coverage of the court proceedings because it is of national interest. But I have issues of deliberate misreporting of witnesses’ evidences that is before the court. The evidences of witnesses are being misreported. When something did not happen, it should not be reported as it happened” he said.
According to him, it was reported on Star FM by one Sarjo Barrow, a presenter saying the witness said his client (Yankuba Badjie) committed the act and was in fact present when late Solo Sandeng was been beaten.
“This is deliberate misreporting and putting my client in hostility. In as much as there is free press, the coverage of the trial should be factual. I urge the court to let the media report exactly what happens without which there will be confusion” Mene said.
Presiding judge Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara put it to the defense counsel that what is important is the records in the court but notwithstanding, he agreed that facts be reported by the media.
“This is an open court and we would not allow facts to be misreported. Always be sure of what you recording. Always clarify before you present or you will put yourself in trouble” she said.
Justice Sillah-Camara however reminded the media that the accused persons are still innocent until proven guilty. She warned the media to report accordingly and avoid any misreporting.
The Deputy Director of Public Prosecution M.B Abubakar said it is not to his knowledge of any misreporting of witness testimonies but urged the media to report accordingly.