Global Witness Trail: Prosecution Fumbles – Plead With Judge For Continuance

Cllr. Varney G. Sherman with team of lawyers

Prosecution Lawyers in the ongoing Global Witness trial at Criminal Court ‘C’ have for the second time in succession pray the court for Continuance of the trial due to the lack of witnesses to testify in the much talked about case.

On Monday April 3, and Tuesday April 4, 2017 State lawyers failed to provide witnesses to testify on their behalf in the aftermath of a judge warning against delay from either of the parties.

The prosecution had presented a list of 26 witnesses to testify in the ongoing trail as part of the legal proceedings in anticipation to bring down a guilty verdict against the indictees. But from the look of things, the prosecution is currently have a difficult time in getting the witnesses most of whom are out of the Country.

According to court transcripts, the prosecution was denied a motion for continuance of ten days by the Judge of criminal Court ‘C’ presiding Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay on grounds that the defendants are entitled to speedy trial as provided under Liberian laws.

The Judge:  “Wherefore, and in view of the foregoing, the prosecution request for ten days is hereby granted with modification that this case will be continued for seven (7) days that is to say, effective as of today’s date up to including Monday same being the 10th day of April AD 2017, and this case will commence on Tuesday same being the 11th day of April AD 2017 at the precise hour of 9:00 am.”

The court further warned the prosecution against unwarranted delays and buying time. The Judge said the prosecution should provide all of its witnesses whether foreign or local in time for the trail or will be fined in keeping with the law.

“The Prosecution is hereby warned that all of its witnesses be it foreigner or local witness are required to be present in court and on time, failure of which the Persecution will be panelized including fine for each of the prosecution lawyers,” the Judge said in his ruling.

The defense counsel contended that the motion made by the prosecution for more time was bogus, and was only intended to create further delay in the trail. The Defense council in a two page argument said, the Prosecution was not specific in naming the witnesses that will testify on their behalf based on the motion of continuance.

Lawyers representing Co- Defendants Varney G. Sherman, Eugene Shannon, ECB Jones, Christopher Onanuga and Willie Belleh resisted the motion on grounds that it was mischievous and dilatory.

The defense lawyers in their argument before the court said: “ the motion was made in bad faith for reason that from the inception of the case and prior to the issuance of the indictment the prosecution has been aware and is aware that witnesses on its behalf are without the bailiwick of this country, it is for this reason that prosecution has utilized vast amount of taxpayers resources and money of the people of Liberia to gallivant across the globe in search of witnesses who now should be available on its behalf to testify in order to establish whatever allege crimes the defendants are purported to have committed.”

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About Cholo Brooks 13201 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.