In Stable Mining Bribery Case, Court Denies Speaker Tyler’s Request For ‘Separate Trial’

{By Abraham S. Sollie/GNN Judicial Reporter}

Cllr. James Daku Mulbah
Cllr. James Daku Mulbah

The hope of separate trial for House Speaker, J. Alex Tyler, in the Stable Mining  bribery case, on today Tuesday, August 2, 2016 crumbled after the Presiding Judge of Criminal Court “C”, Emery S. Paye, denied a request he (Speaker Tyler) made before the court.

It can be recalled that the Speaker of the Liberian Legislature, J. Alex Tyler and several others were on May 24, 2016 indicted by the Grand Jury of Montserrado County, charging them with multiple crimes including Bribery, Criminal Solicitation, Criminal Facilitation, and Economic Sabotage among other crimes under review in the case. After their indictment, Speaker Tyler and the other Co-defendants were ordered arrested by the court thereby putting them under the court’s jurisdiction. Following the issuance of the writ of arrest, the defendants filed their respective criminal appearance bonds which were approved by the court securing their release.

Defendant Tyler by and through his lawyers, on July 4, 2016 requested the court to grant him separate trial on grounds that his defenses are in conflict with and are antagonistic to the other co-defendants; in that the act conduct constituting his (Tyler’s) indictment fall within his duties and responsibilities in keeping with articles 29 and 35 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia as well as a letter dated August 5, 2010, which was forwarded to him by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

The indicted Liberian Speaker told the court in his request that articles 29 and 35 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia expressly vest Legislative power in the houses of Representatives and Senate to pass on Legislations and must be laid before the president for approval.

Defendant Tyler’s lawyers heavily among other things contended the court grant their client’s requested in that the Constitutional provisions, President Johnson-Sirleaf’s letter of August 5, 2010 that was forwarded to him (Tyler), the amended and restated Public Procurement and Concession Commission Act (PPCC) of 2005 and that he consistent with the President’s request submitted the act to the House of Representatives something he said was passed and concurred by the Senate.

But state lawyers strongly resisted Speaker Tyler’s request for separate trial praying the court to deny and dismiss the request because they argued that his (Tyler’s) defenses in no way clash with the defenses of the other co-defendants.

State lawyers told the court that though Speaker Tyler performed in the confines of his duties but said that they he (Tyler) and the other co-defendants acted in concert in soliciting and receiving the bribe (Money) from Co-defendant Sable Mining Inc. for the passage of the act which empowers the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy to declare the concession areas as non-bidding areas.

They added that it is not in dispute that the President of Liberia submitted a Draft  PPCC’s Act, neither is it in dispute that it was enacted by the Legislature, signed by the President and printed in handbills in keeping with law but said that their contention as stated in the indictment is that  he (Speaker Tyler) and others, in their respective positions and/or capacities, with full knowledge of their conducts, acted together to commit bribery and other felonious crimes during the passages of the PPCC’s Act in 2010.

The state lawyers among other things stated that the narrations of Defendants Tyler in his request for separate trial are defenses that may be raised during trial but contested that they are not sufficient grounds for the granting of separate trial.

Judge Paye, in his ruling, denied Speaker Tyler’s request for severance trial and granted the resistance interposed against it by the state lawyers.

Judge Paye adjudged that the indicted Liberian Speaker will be tried along with the rest of the other co-defendants he was jointly indicted with.

Also, Defendant Tyler’s lawyers for their part took an exception to Judge Paye’s ruling and notified the court that their client will take advantage of the statute made and provided in cases of such nature.

Speaker Tyler was during the hearing represented by Torch Professional Consultancy, Inc in association with J. Johnny Momo and Associates Legal Chambers, Inc and headed by Cllr. J. Johnny Momo while the state was represented by the Ministry of Justice in association with the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) and headed by Cllr. James Daku Mulbah.

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About Cholo Brooks 17479 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.