Gov’t Lawyers Beg For Time

By R. Joyclyn Wea

The government of Liberia is said to be ‘unprepared’ to go through the Sable Mining Bribery Scandal. Lawyers representing Liberian Government are pleading with Criminal Court “C” Judge J. Boima Kontoe for extension in the resumption of the case.

According to government’s lawyers, their plead is not to waste or prolong the trial of the case, but rather to afford all parties the opportunity to have a free, fair and transparent hearing in the matter.

The lawyers are further requesting the court to order its clerk to delete or remove the names of defendants in the Sable Mining case, to include: Andrew Groves and other defendants who during the course of the trial, were severed.

The lawyers further argued that the defendants’ trial proceeded at the Supreme Court of Liberia out of which the mandate calls for trial denovo is in keeping with law. “Respondents say the trial denovo is in keeping with law and is restrictive only as those defendants who were on trial then.”

According to count two of the Respondents, they stated that, on Dec. 18, 2018, they received a Motion for Subpoena Ad Testificadum; which motion is the second in line of motions filed by the defendants\Movants which Motion raised legal issues which the Respondents commence addressing in a Written Resistance and with the filing of the second Motion. Respondent is of the belief that it would be prudent to have the motions and the issue contained therein to be traversed in one resistance to have same consolidated for which reason the Respondents refrains from filing its already written resistance to the first Motion so as to include the resistance to the second Motion and have same filed before this Honorable Court and served for a hearing to be held thereon.

Furthermore, Respondents say that in keeping with the rule of the Court for Motion to be disposed of, prior to the commencement of trial, it therefore sees it practically impossible to have trial held on today when the Motions cannot be disposed of today. Respondents in keeping with the above said, “prays this Honorable Court for continuance in the trial of this matter to three weeks, taking into consideration the pending holidays, the need to address the legal issues raised in the Motion and the gathering and preparation of Plaintiff’s witnesses in the trial case, some of whom are without the bailiwick or outside of the Republic of Liberia.

The Respondents also added that, the submission is in no way, intended to delay and or baffle the trial of the case but rather to afford all parties the opportunity to have a free, fair and transparent hearing in the matter at bar.

In resistance to the Respondents’ submission made to the court, the Movants stated that, with respect to count one of the application requesting parties to be removed from the trial of the case at this time, is a strange practice and contradiction of the very statement made by prosecution that the case is to be tried denovo; by that submission, prosecution cannot preempt the court and is estopped from raising issue relating to the prior trial.

Accordingly: “Movants say that for such an application, the prosecution should file proper papers before this court setting forth its grounds for the defendants to be excluded from this particular trial.”

“As to count two of the application relating to the request for time, Movants say that, even though it is the rule that the prosecution should be prepared at all time, it interposes to objection to the application and leaves to the discretion of the court as to the exact period to be granted for the continuation of this trial” the Movants added.

In response to arguments, the presiding judge of Criminal Court “C” J. Boima Kontoe noted that, following the call of the Motion for Subpoena Ad Testificadum/Duces Tecum filed by Movants H. Varney G. Sherman, E.C.B Jones, Christopher Onanuga, J. Alex Tyler, Richard Tolbert, Eugene Shannon, Morris Saytumah and Willie Belleh, made an application for continuance and requested court to grant three weeks to enable the Respondent respond appropriately and adequately to Movants’ motion.

“This application for continuance has tacitly been conceded by Movants, This Court says that today, Dec. 19, 2018, is the 33rd days’ jury sitting, leaving only nine more days excluding Sundays and legal holidays for adjournment of this November Term of Court. It would not only be impracticable but legally not permissible for the court to grant continuance to the term of Court over which it has no trial jurisdiction.

The court says against this background, the request for three weeks continuance is granted with modification that this matter is proceeded with on Friday, Dec. 28, 2018 at 9:00am.

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