Four Journalists Remanded in Sierra Leone
Magistrate Mark Ngegba of the Pademba Road Magistrate Court in Freetown on Friday 28th July 2019 slammed a stiff bail condition against four senior journalists in Sierra Leone. The journalists are; Publisher, the Times SL, Sallieu Tejan Jalloh popularly known as Sal Tee Jay, Editor, the Times SL, David Johnson, Editor, Standard Times Newspaper, Mustapha Sesay and Senior Staff Writer, Standard Times Newspaper, Abu Bakarr Kargbo fondly call Fadda Bakish.
Magistrate Ngegba slammed that each of the four accused journalists should have three (3) sureties, two of which must have a house, resident in the Freetown, passport carrier, worth Le 350 million and must be above 50 years old.
The four journalists were accused of authoring and publishing defamatory stories separately against Mohamed Pa Momoh Fofanah Esq.
According to the particulars of offence, the first accused, Sallieu Tejan Jalloh, the Publisher of the Times-SL Newspaper and David Johnson Acting Editor of the Times-SL Newspaper, on Monday 24th June 2019 “maliciously published a defamatory article in the Times-SL Newspaper both on print and electronic media (Social )Media) captioned “How Credible SL Human Rights? As No Court Action against Alleged Fraudster Gains Momentum… Is Pa Momoh Fofanah Tampering with Justice?”
Abu Bakarr Kargbo, a Senior Staff Writer of Standard Times Newspaper and Mustapha Sesay, the General Editor of Standard Times Newspaper on Tuesday 25th June 2019 “maliciously wrote a defamatory article in the said Standard Times Newspaper captioned “Fake Documents to meet Bail Condition… Unlawful undertaken (sic) Signed” against Mohamed Pa Momoh Fofanah (the complainant).
The four journalists were arraigned before Magistrate Mark Ngegba of the Pademba Road Magistrate Court in Freetown on charges of defamatory and libel, contrary to section 27 of the Public Order Act, 1965 (Act No. 46 of 1965) against the complainant Mohamed Pa Momoh Fofanah Esq.
With the stiff bail condition for the four journalists, the accused were unable to meet those conditions and they were incarcerated at the Pademba Road Male Correctional Center in Freetown.
The decision of the magistrate and by extension the judiciary to put up stiff bail conditions against the four journalists was condemned by many Sierra Leoneans across the globe more so when the current president, Julius Maada Bio has repeatedly stated that he will expunged the draconian law (1965 Public Order Act, part 5) that criminalize journalists.
The complainant was represented by Abdul Karim Kamara Esq whilst the four accused incarcerated journalists were represented by I. K. Mamie Esq.
The matter was adjourned to Tuesday 9th July 2019 for continuation.
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