By Landing Ceesay
The defamation lawsuit filed by the CEO of GACH Global, Abubakary Jawara (Plaintiff) against former Secretary General and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Momodou Sabally (Defendant) is set for trial proper.
On the last adjourned date, the Judge presiding over the case, Justice Bakre, ordered the commencement of the pre-trial of the case.
Counsel Ida Drammeh, the lawyer for the Plaintiff, at the last sitting, informed the court of her client’s intention to tender 8 documents.
Counsel Drammeh applied to tender audio 1 and transcription 1 as part of the documents they intend to tender before the Court. Counsel Fatty for the defendant objected to the admissibility of the audio claiming it is computer generated and that it needs to be accompanied by a certificate. The audio was rejected by Justice Bakre, but the transcription was admitted as exhibit PF 2.
In today’s hearing, Counsel Ida Drammeh for the Plaintiff tendered 3 audios with their transcriptions, the plaintiff’s mining licenses, the plaintiff’s import license for arms and ammunition, Facebook posts of Momodou Sabally (the defendant), and excerpts of different publications of Momodou Sabally.
Counsel Drammeh first applied to tender to audio 2 and transcription 2 in the court. Counsel Fatty for the defendant objected to the said audio and transcription arguing that the audio has no relevance to the defamation case against his client. He, later on, withdrew his objection after exchanging words with the presiding judge.
Justice Bakre then admitted audio 2 and transcription 2 as exhibits PF 3A and PF 3B. Counsel for Plaintiff again seeks to tender another audio which is labeled as audio 3 and transcription 3.
Justice Bakre again admitted it to the evidence as exhibits PF 4 A and PF 4B after Counsel Fatty for the defendant had no objection to the said documents.
Counsel Drammeh applied to tender another document which is the last audio and marked as audio 4 and transcription 4.
Counsel Fatty objected to the audio and its transcription and stated that the said audio has no relevance to the case. “My lord, there is nothing in this audio that is relevant to the case. The defendant (Momodou Sabally) is talking about politics and President Barrow and that has nothing to do with this case. The defendant is even talking about issues since independence,” he said.
In response to Counsel Fatty’s argument, Ida Drammeh Counsel for the Plaintiff (Abubacarr Jawara) said the audio is relevant to the case because that is how the defendant (Momodou Sabally) has been addressing his political opponents.
“These are the type of statements the defendant (Momodou Sabally) has been making. It is my submission that it is part of the group of audios and statements the defendant has made,” Counsel Drammeh argued. Counsel Drammeh further argued that if the judge looks at the transcription of the said audio, it shows the defendant (Momodou Sabally) has respect for his party and not for his opponents.
“My lord, if you look at the transcription of the audio, the defendant refers to his party leader as His Excellency Lawyer NumuKunda Ousainu Darboe. But he called President Barrow, ‘Adama Barrow, Barrow’, etc. Is like he has no respect towards the other side,” Counsel Drammeh said.
In response to Counsel Drammeh, A. Fatty, Counsel for the defendant said his client is a politician and he made a political statement. Furthermore, it is his client’s choice to call President Barrow Adama Barrow not His Excellency.
Justice Bakre then admitted the said audio and transcription into evidence as exhibits PF 5A and PF 5B.
Counsel for the plaintiff then applied to tender the defendant’s Publication made on 11th January 2021.
Counsel Fatty said he will not raise any objection to it because he doesn’t want to take the court to a Marathon of electronically generated documents.
Justice Bakre then admitted it into the evidence as exhibits PF 6.
Counsel Drammeh for the Plaintiff applied to tender excerpts of different publications by Momodou Sabally (Defendant).
The documents were admitted into the evidence by Justice Bakre as exhibits PF 7 A and PF 7B after Counsel Fatty for the defendant did not object to it. Counsel Drammeh further tendered the Plaintiff’s License to import firearms and ammunition, as well as his Mining License. The defence
counsel did not object to the documents and they were admitted into evidence as exhibits PF 8A and PF 8B.
Counsel Drammeh tendered a letter from the plaintiff’s business partner and a profit and loss statement from GACH Global. Counsel Fatty again did not object to the admission of the documents into evidence as Justice Bakre admitted them as exhibits PF 9 A and PF 9B.
Counsel Drammeh tendered other documents which are Facebook postings of the defendant saying the plaintiff should be charged with economic crimes and the other one in which Sabally (Defendant) said he is not going to apologize to Abubakary Jawara (Plaintiff). The documents were admitted into the evidence as exhibits PF 10A and PF 10 B.
“Those are the documents the plaintiff would be relying on,” Counsel Drammeh informed the Court.
Meanwhile, Counsel Fatty tendered 2 documents to the court.
The documents are the Plaintiff’s appointment letter to Guangzhou, China as a Consular General, and video footage in a flash drive.
Counsel for the plaintiff did not object to the documents and Justice Bakre admitted them into evidence as exhibits DF 1 and DF 2.
“My lord, those are the documents at this stage the defendant wishes to rely on,” Counsel Fatty informed the Court. Justice Bakre then asked Counsel Drammeh how many witnesses she intends to call to the stand. The plaintiff’s lawyer said she will be bringing only one witness and the defence counsel also intends to call a single witness
The case was then adjourned to the 17th of February 2023 for the trial proper.