By: Muhammed Barrow
Magistrate Peter Adoh has on Monday acquitted and discharged Kassim Fadera who was charged with seditious intention after prosecutors alleged he insulted chiefs.
The Court ruled: “I hold that the prosecution has failed to establish a prima facie against the accused necessitating him to open his defense. KASSIM FADERA, you are hereby discharged and acquitted forthwith.”
Prosecutors alleged Kassim Fadera on or about 4th November, 2018 within Jarra West District, with intend to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite dissatisfaction against the government of The Gambia made a Whatsapp audio making comments and insult to the regional chiefs of LRR by directing it to the president.
In its ruling, the Court said the sole issue which stands out for determination is “whether the prosecution has established a prima facie case against the accused person warranting them to open their defense not”.
According to the trial court, evidence was not led to show that the message was published by the accused.
The Court added: “The offence of seditious intention has to be carefully understood when it comes to whatsapp technology unlike other print media which is addressed to the whole world.”
“Had this audio been transcribed and put into newspapers, GRTS, QTV or other multimedia outlets then one can of publicity?”
The investigation trial magistrate said the investigation in this case was porous as well as the presentation of the evidence before the court.
He stressed, “There was no IPO, the evidence was very weak. The magistrate therefore attached zero weight to KF1. This is classic case of shady investigations and an improper presentation of evidence, the court cannot rely on sketchy investigations to arrive at conviction.”