By Edwin G. Wandah
A Six-Jury Panel yesterday handed down guilty verdict against 13 Liberians who were arrested and incarcerated at the Monrovia Central Prison since 2011.
During yesterday’s hearing at Criminal Court D, six of the twelve jurors considered the 13 Liberians guilty for crime of Mercenarism in neighboring Ivory Coast. According to the indictment read in open court, Judge Emery S. Paye said that the 13 Liberians were initially indicted for Mercenarism in neighboring Ivory Coast four years ago.
At a jammed packed hearing at Criminal Court ‘D’ at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia yesterday, the Court, having given four of final argument by both the Prosecution and the Defense Counsels, Prosecution based their arguments on what they referred to as concrete facts and evidence they have provided, while the Defense argued that those facts provided by the Prosecution were not tangible enough to find the men guilty.
Taking the stand, Montserrado County Attorney Cllr. Daku Mulbah prayed that the men be convicted for the crime of Mercenarism and should not be acquitted. According to him, the hands of the men were stained with innocent blood they have shared; those they killed in Ivory Coast including seven United Nations Peace Keepers.
He further argued that several witnesses being provided by the State clearly shows that the13 men were indeed guilty of the act of Mercenarism in Ivory Coast. According to him, Bobby Sarpee, Neezee Barway and several others crossed over to the Ivory Coast to join others in fighting the current Ivorian leader, Alassane Ouattara
For their parts, both Attorney Arthur Johnson and Counselor Tiawon Gongloe of the Defense Counsel pleaded that the Prosecution did not do justice to the 13 men. According to them, there is no concrete evidence to have the men guilty of the crime they believed the men committed.
They also pleaded that none of the State witnesses visited the sight of the crime, and according to them, they cannot have the men guilty of a makeup crime because there is no substantial evidence to have the men put in jail.
In closing, Prosecution lawyer Counselor Theophilus C. Gould said the Defense team was buying time to have the men released on mere grounds. He said, the men could not be set free because according to him, Neezee Barway, Bobby Sarpee, Oforee Diah, Edward Cole, Isaac Taryou, Prince Julay, Mohammed Massaquoi, Sam Tarly and others are guilty of the crime of Mercenarism in the Ivory Coast.
Meanwhile, Criminal Court D has set June 21, 2014 for final ruling in the case and subsequent sentence by the court if the men are indeed guilty of the crime of Mercenarism in neighboring Ivory Coast. Although the Defense counsel has accepted the first ruling, it has vowed to take an appeal.