In Mercenary Trial: Defense Opposes Recording…Court Grants Motion Of Sppression

The Criminal Court “D” at the Temple of Justice has cleverly escaped the replica of the entertaining video recording evidences that were said to have been gathered surreptitiously thereby hampering trial proceedings as was done in the case of Charles Julu et al years ago.

Criminal Court “D” Judge, Yussif Kaba yesterday denied the screening of video recording evidence produced by the State thus terming it as “evidence illegally obtained.”

Judge Dixon in his ruling on prosecution’s Motion to Suppress Evidence told the parties that his judgment was predicated upon count three of the motion which indicated that the evidence was not obtained through a search warrant or voluntary admission in accordance with law.

His argument concurred with the statues submitted by the movants from the Criminal Procedural Law 1LCLR, Title 11 Section 11.10.1 (f) and (g).

Among other things; the movants prayed the court to suppress the documentary video evidence wondering how the evidence was obtained for pre-trial.

Nineteen men are on trial for multiple offences ranging from mercenarism to murder; rape; armed robbery and theft of property. With the understanding of the law issues, the men cannot be tried for all offences in a single court since Liberia’s jurisdiction provides for trial of individuals, groups and companies in various courtrooms based on the weight of the offences of the crimes.

Presently, the men are undergoing a jury trial for the commission of the crime of Mercenarism; an act of engaging in cross border attacks into other countries which is the first offence that the State deemed necessary to pursue.

Already, the State has produced five witnesses having informed the court that the witnesses will be categorized into three different kinds ranging from those who acted together with the suspects and those who witnessed the incidences at various points and time as well as material and documentary evidences.

The State’s fifth witness, Thomas Gludior whose testimony took about three hours and could not afford the lawyers go into the cross examination due to fatigue of the court and time; the trial was scheduled to resume yesterday with the screening of a video recording but the defense team filed a motion to suppress the ‘secretly’ recorded evidences.

Witness Gludior who told his kinsmen who thronged the courtroom to listen to him testify that he knew most if not all of the defendants who participated in the civil unrest in the Ivory Coast  and escaped to Liberia because he was taken to the military base and that he witnessed several events which he admitted to have been secretly recorded.

He even admitted in open court how he assisted the Liberia National Police to arrest those being charged and to unearth the ammunitions and arms in an attempt to save his kinsmen from further problems and turned himself over to the government to testify because he loves his country, Liberia.

However, witness Gludior who presented his testimony with confidence before several relatives and friends of the defendants in the dock as well as witnesses failed to show up at the court yesterday to witness his own ‘secret’ recorded evidence.

Following the suppression of the evidence, the court requested that the witness be brought back in court to complete the process but the process was held in hostage for hours with the whereabouts of the witness unknown.