The former GRTS reporter was charged with giving false information when he petitioned GRTS to the Office of the President, claiming that he was wrongfully dismissed by the state broadcaster in 2006. He had pleaded not guilty.
“I found you as guilty as charged,” magistrate Ma-Nyima Bojang told Sanneh in a parked courtroom at Banjul Magistrates’ Court yesterday bringing an end to the journalist’s seven month-long ordeal.
She ordered Mr Sanneh to pay D500 else spend six month in jail. The reporter however walked home as a freeman after Gambia Press Union (GPU) rushed to his aid by depositing the sum at the court.
Mr Sanneh’s engagement at the state media was terminated in 2006 for no stated reason. But according to GRTS Boss, the journalist was fired for ‘bias reportage’ when he was assigned to cover a mass political rally of the main opposition-United Democratic Party (UDP) in the run up to the presidential elections in 2006.
“You (Sanneh) knew why you were sacked because you exaggerated number of people when you were assigned to cover the UDP rally in 2006,” magistrate Bojang said in her judgement. “You have been warned many times by the GRTS management but instead of apologising, you acted negatively.”
The judgement came after the testimony of three witnesses, including GRTS boss Momodou Sanyang and a senior staff, Mr Kebba Dibba for the state and two defence witnesses for journalist Sanneh.
Mr Sanndeh was left without a legal representation after defense lawyer Borry Touray withdrew his representation when the magistrate rejected his request for a re-start of the trial.