The Resident Judge of the 11th Judicial Circuit Court in Tubmanburg, Bomi County has warned that the court will have no alternative, but to jail lawyers who would continue to give flimsy excuses when the trial commences.
The Judge’s warning was accompanied by imposing fines and to hold lawyers in contempt of court because of their flimsy excuses.
The case involves a Lebanese national, Abbas EL Debes indicted for human trafficking, smuggling of migrants, gang rape and criminal conspiracy for allegedly trafficking 14 Liberian girls from Liberia to Lebanon under the pretense that they would get better education and be given well paid jobs.
Defendant Debes was indicted along with Richard Dickson Tamba, a Liberian and two other Lebanese nationals, Bashir AL Lakis and Ghazi Bashir, who are still at large and have not been brought under the jurisdiction of the court.
Judge William Sando issued the warning last Friday, when he told the court that one of the lawyers representing the legal interest of defendant Debes called and informed him that the vehicle they were riding in experienced tire deflation near the Klay Junction.
He said the prosecution and the defense lawyers were expected to receive a ruling on a motion to hear the case in camera and the resistance thereto.
The entire prosecuting team was absent from the case, except for the Assistant County Attorney, Atty. D. Stephen Williams, who made a submission for a continuance.
Judge Sando told the court that during the last sitting, both prosecution and defense were present and agreed to appear in the court last week Friday to receive the ruling.
He said the excuse given by the defense team that their vehicle had developed tire problem was not justifiable grounds that would have caused them not to appear in court.
He noted that it would have been prudent for one of the defense lawyers to appear and receive the ruling rather than to stay away from the case.
The Judge said the actions of the defense not to appear in the court suggest that their main intentions are to delay the case up to the November, 2015 Term of Court.
Judge Sando pointed out that the defendant required speedy trial in line with justice and fair play because the case is criminal in nature.
Some legal luminaries, who spoke to our reporter in Tubmanburg on Friday shortly after the court adjourned, said the motion filed by the state was in bad faith because it seeks to bar journalists from covering the proceedings.
In a related development, the Judge has disbanded the 15 –member jurors after government lawyers raised issue that the state was not satisfied with the jurors selected to serve on the panel.
The Government of Liberia is represented by Cllrs. H. DedehJomah-Wilson, JomahKarnley, County Attorney for Bomi County, Atty. David Woah, Legal Consultant, Ministry of Justice and Atty. D. Stephen Williams, Assistant County Attorney for Bomi County, while the defendant is represented by Cllrs. Cooper W. Kruah, IdrisSherrif and Atty. Arthur T. Johnson.