Samsudeen Phatey, a Gambian journalist and an activist based in the USA has on 6th December 2022 testified in the ongoing case against Fatou Touray, CEO of Kerr Fatou, and Fatoumata Drammeh, widely known as Tima La Waato of Paradise Tv at the Brikama Magistrate’s Court.
The two accused persons are charged with unauthorised publication in an ongoing matter at the Children’s Court in Brikama.
Mr. Phatey, currently in the USA, was physically present in the Gambia since the last sitting on 6th December 2022 and testified in person before Magistrate Peter Ado Cheo at the Brikama Magistrate’s Court, before returning to America.
During his testimony on 6th December 2022, Samsudeen Phatey, led by the Private Prosecutor Lawyer Malick H.B Jallow Esq, disclosed how the accused Fatou Touray and Fatou Jarai Suso (Mprez Jah) co-ordinated, organised and participated in an interview on Freedom newspaper online to discuss a matter involving his child at the Brikama Magistrate’s Court, without seeking authorization from the court. He said the accused persons did so and claimed they were helping his ex-wife Neneh J. Thompson (Nahima Jawneh), who has a legal case with Samsudeen Phatey at the children’s court in Brikama.
Samsudeen Phatey also explained how Fatoumata Drammeh (Tima La Waato) voluntarily contacted Neneh J. Thompson and interviewed her on the “Tima La Waato“ Show regarding the said case ongoing at the Brikama Children’s Court.
Mr. Phatey told the court that the intention of the accused persons was to make the said matter go viral, adding that the matter went viral to the extent his child‘s identity was revealed.
Testifying further, Samsudeen Phatey said that Fatou Touray had contacted lawyer Aziz Bensouda and lawyer Haddy Dandeh Njie to support his ex-wife Neneh J. Thompson in the said case, accusing both lawyers of having committed judicial inference in an ongoing case.
Phatey backed up his claims against the interference by lawyer Aziz Bensouda and lawyer Haddy Dandeh Njie by telling the court that Mr. Bensouda was not Neneh J. Thompson‘s lawyer at the time and Haddy Dandeh Njie was also serving as Deputy Lead Counsel of the TRRC, which automatically made her a civil servant at the time.
He said the accused person Fatou Touray had also confirmed that she contacted them (Lawyer Aziz Bensouda and Lawyer Haddy Dandeh Njie) to help Neneh J. Thompson.
According to Samsudeen Phatey, Fatou Touray went further to thank Aziz Bensouda and Haddy Dandeh Njie for helping to secure Neneh J. Thompson’s release from lawful custody.
At that juncture, Lawyer A. Ceesay who was stepping in for Aziz Bensouda on 6th December 2022, made an objection that a known practicing lawyer’s name (Aziz Bensouda) was used in conjunction with judicial interference.
However, upon interjection by the court and Counsel M. H.B Jallow for Samsudeen Phatey, she withdrew the objection and said she wanted to make an observation instead.
At the end of his testimony, the Defence Counsel for the accused persons sought an adjournment for cross-examination.
However, both parties could not have arrived at a convenient date because the presiding magistrate was going on vacation. So a request was made for Samsudeen Phatey to be cross-examined virtually because he too was supposed to return back to the USA before the next adjourned date.
The trial magistrate accepted the request for Samsudeen Phatey to be cross-examined virtually and ordered that the necessary arrangements be made for the virtual hearing on the next adjourned date, which was scheduled on 3rd January 2023.
However, when the case resumed on Tuesday, 3rd January 2023 it could not proceed because arrangements for a virtual hearing were not yet made and it was rescheduled to Wednesday, 4th January 2023.
Although it is the responsibility of the court to make arrangements for a virtual hearing but such arrangements were still not made as of Wednesday, 4th January.
The case was then adjourned to 9th January 2023 for cross-examination of the complainant via virtual hearing.