What appears to be an uncertainty is said to be hanging over the sex slaves’ case involving a Lebanese businessman with the defense requesting the judge to recuse from the proceedings on grounds of being bias.
The businessman, Abbas EL Debes was indicted by the Government of Liberia, along with two other Lebanese nationals, Ghazi Bashir, Lakis Bashir and Richard Dickson Tamba, a Liberian for the crimes of illicit human trafficking, smuggling of migrants, gang rape and criminal conspiracy.
The defendant who has been represented by a team of seasoned lawyers, Cllrs. Cooper W. Kruah, Idris S. Sheriff and Atty. Arthur T. Johnson on Monday, filed two separate motions before the 11th Judicial Circuit Court in Tubmanburg, Bomi County.
One of the motions, counsels for the defendant prayed the court that the Presiding Judge, William Sando, recuses himself from the trial because of his biasness that the defense fear that he has failed to show neutrality as required of a judge.
Counsels for the movant/defendant told the court that on the day of the jury selection it was brought to the attention of the judge that huge number of armed police men was meant to intimidate the participants in the case.
The defense lawyers argued that the court should order the armed police to leave the premises of the courtyard.
The defense noted that the resistance filed to the Bill of Information concerning the huge presence of armed men, prosecution admitted that the police was brought in to protect their witnesses.
The defense lawyers pointed out that as a clever distraction for the Bill of Information, prosecution asked the judge to conduct an investigation on what the state termed as jury tampering, which the defense believed was not the object of the Bill of Information.
Counsels for the defendant contended that instead of the judge ruling on the Bill of Information, he allegedly changed the objective of the Bill of Information to a jury tampering case even though; no evidence was adduced before him relative to jury tampering.
The defense vehemently stated that the judge’s decision to disband the 12 sequestered jurors without any evidence from them, suggests that he does not respect the due process of law as were as the requirement of the Liberian Constitution, which provides that the law must hear before it condemns; is a clear manifestation that Judge William Sando does not believe in the principle of due process; is cardinal in the trial for which he should recuse himself from the case.
According to the defense’s motion, that fact that the information was filed by the movant/defendant’s counsels; regarding the presence of huge armed men was not denied by the state prosecutors, but the judge elected to dwell on issue of jury tampering.