By C. Winnie Saywah-Jimmy
Defendants Jacob Thapra, Kelvin Bangura alias A.B, Papie alias James Sonpon and James Sesay alias T.J. have unanimously entered a plea of ‘guilty’ following the reading of their indictment for the commission of the crime of Armed Robbery in the New Georgia Old Field Community.
All four defendants, having listened keenly to the indictment lifted their hands and shouted ‘guilty’ in open court in response to the clerk of court’s question, “Are you guilty or not guilty?” Earlier, upon making representations, counsels for the prosecution requested separate trial for the four guilty defendants on grounds that the indictment had names of eight defendants while only four were present in court for the trial, only four were present in court for the trial.
Prosecution informed the court that the other four defendants were either bailed or that the case was dismissed against them and therefore they have not been to court. Prosecution said in order to proceed with the trial of the four defendants in the dock, it prays that the request be granted so that those who were not present could not be tried in absentia. In granting the request made for separate trial, Criminal Court ‘D’ Judge, Emery Paye, said the submission was in accordance with law and is therefore granted. The defendants were arraigned and following their acceptance of guilt for the crime as charged, prosecution further prayed the court to enter final judgment consistent with the defendants’ plea.
Meanwhile, the counsels for the defendants prayed the court to tamper justice with mercy since all defendants have admitted their guilt for the commission of the crime of Armed Robbery.
Prosecution advised the court that in tampering justice with mercy, it should be mindful and take due consideration that the crime of Armed Robbery is one of the offences that are popular in almost all communities in the country.
The court having listened to both sides in the trial, informed the parties that it will hand down its final judgment in the matter today at 10 a.m. prompt thereby giving relief to the plaintiffs as the defendants have all pleaded guilty.
The indictment among other things charged the defendants for contravening 4LCLR, Title 26 Section 15.32 and 4 LCLR, Title 26 Section 1.7©; and 4LCLR, Title 26, Section 15.51 (a) of the statutory laws of the Republic of Liberia.
The plaintiffs, Saah Johnson, Pastor James S. Williams, III and Lewis P. Gibson informed the investigation that the total value of cash and items carried away by the defendants was US$1, 315 plus LD 7, 050.
The plaintiffs were represented by the Ministry of Justice and all prosecuting attorneys for Montserrado County while the defendants were represented by the office of the public defense counsels for Montserrado County.