Monrovia - With widespread criticisms over the slow nature of the prosecution of cases by the State, things look to be getting on a different path with the Government winning several cases in court. In recent months, the Government of Liberia has been able to win at least more than two cases a month at the same time drawing out new indictments against individuals for allegedly coming crimes against the state.
Monday, April 6 was another good day for state prosecutors as the State won two major cases in court, pending final judgment and sentencing within four working days consistent with the law. On July 3, 2014, a group of citizens working with Arcelor Mittal in Nimba County staged an authorized demonstration on the compounds of the Company, which eventually turned into rioting that led to the loss and destruction of properties belonging to the company.
The government of Liberia indicted co-defendant Alfred Saye and eleven others who were arrested, investigated, and charged with multiple offenses including armed robbery, arson, theft of property and obstruction of Government’s Function. State prosecutors argued that the facts revealed that the rioting grew out of a demand by the workers for a pay rise and other benefits which the company had agreed to handle at a given point in time.
Following months of trial Jurors in the case which was tried at the 2nd Judicial Circuit Court, Grand Bassa County sitting in its February Term, A.D. 2015, brought down a unanimous Guilty verdict in favor of the State against eleven of the defendants on Monday, April 6, 2015. Final judgment in the case is expected to be handed down four working days from Monday in keeping with law. One of the defendants did not stand trial due to illness.
Another guilty of kidnapping
The State also won another against defendant Mohammed Sedee Falee who has been facing prosecution on charges of kidnapping at the Monrovia City Magisterial Court. Defendant Falee was indicted during the November term of the First Judicial Circuit Court A.D. 2014 by the Grand Jury for Montserrado County. He was accused of deceiving the private prosecutrix who traveled along with him to Mauritania along with her three children - Aisha Falee, Mohammed Falee and Abuduharam Falee based on encouragement from her father and Imam in Kenema, Sierra Leone.
The indictment stated that defendant moved the four to a remote village called Waylelahad and while in Waylelahad the defendant seized the travel documents of the private prosecutrix and her three which made it impossible for them to leave Mauritania; and the said defendant left Mauritania and moved to Guinea Bissau.
During preliminary investigation at the Liberia National Police, Mr. Falee pleaded with the police to give him six weeks to allow him to produce the living bodies of three kidnapped children, which request made through his legal counsel who signed for him and guaranteed to produce his living body along with the three children, which promise he did not fulfill.
The defendant was later brought to the Monrovia City Magisterial Court where he again conceded through pre-trial conference through a legal counsel Atty. Shadrach Kanneh, and made a promissory note to produce the living bodies of the three kidnapped children, which he again failed to do upon to and including the time of his indictment and subsequent trial.
Defendant Falee pleaded not guilty, but admitted in his motion for judgment of acquittal and his testimony that the crime charge did not occur in Liberia but Mauritania and that at the time the crime was alleged to have been committed, the children had not been removed. When the case was called for trial the defendant was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to the crime charged thereby joining issues with the state.
During the trial, prosecution paraded four regular witnesses and three rebuttal witnesses as well as documentary evidence in support of its indictment, while the defense produced four witnesses including the defendant in support of his side of the case. After both parties had rested with the production of evidence, final argument was assigned for Monday, April 6, 2015.
Following arguments pros et cons, the Trial Jury retired to its room of deliberation and returned with a unanimous Guilty verdict in favor of the State. Final judgment and sentencing are also set for four working days from Monday in keeping with the law.