The Attorney General’s office yesterday took a different line of action in the Phillip Neville trial before Magistrate Bankole Shyllon of the Freetown Court No3.
The defence team of the managing editor of the Standard Times was waiting for a reply from the Attorney General’s office whether to proceed with the matter or not, after the prosecution had demanded a retraction of the Libyan rice story which the defence did.
The charges were read to Phillip Neville and he pleaded not guilty.
Representing the AG, the Director of Public Prosecution Oladipo Robin-Mason called for the first prosecution witness the Executive Secretary of the Independent Media Commission Francis Ganda.
He told the court that his commission was responsible to regulate media institutions and to protect the interest of the public against exploitation or abuse by the media.
When he was crossed examined by the defence lawyer, Leon Jenkins Johnston, on whether his commission received complaint from the AG about the Libyan rice story, he answered in the affirmative and that the complaint and that of the action of the state was concurrent as they learnt the matter was in court as their mandate did not allow them to adjudicate on matters that are sub-judice.
Detective Sergeant 4044 Sorie Kargbo was the second prosecution witness who testified in the matter.
He recalled June 29 whilst on duty at CID headquarters; he had cause to contemporaneously obtain statement from Phillip Neville together with another detective Sergeant 2099 Cole.
He further told the court that together with other detectives they searched the office of the Standard Times wherein they discovered the Standard Times publication no18 of Vol 20 dated 27 June 2007 headlined: “Bombshell Col Gadaffi exposes Government”.
The matter was adjourned to August 1.