By M. WelemongaiCiapha, II
The assigned Judge of Criminal Court “C” at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia, Peter W. Gbeneweleh, has dismissed the US$56,750 economic sabotage, theft of property, misapplication of entrusted property and criminal conspiracy case against defendant Musa Bility.
Delivering his ruling for dismissal of the indictment and its resistance thereto on Friday, Judge Gbeneweleh told the court that a portion of section 18.2 of the Criminal Procedure Code of 1973which the defense cited as their reliance provides that: “Unless good cause is shown, a court shall dismiss an indictment if the defendant is not tried during the next succeeding term after signing of the indictment.”
Judge Gbeneweleh informed the court that defendant Bility and co-defendants Corkrum were indicted by the grand jury for Montserrado County for four criminal charges.
He said records before the court show that Bility has been served with writ of arrest and the indictment which brought him under the jurisdiction of the court, while Corkrum and Johnson have not been served with the indictment.
The presiding Judge noted that during the November, 2013 Term of Court, Bility through his lawyers filed a motion for severance, which according to Judge Gbeneweleh was granted by the Resident Judge of Court “C”, A. Blamo Dixon.
He stated that the prosecution filed a nine-count resistance, arguing that the Government of Liberia has been engaged in other cases which assignments were prayed for by the prosecution as well as the defendants, who had been before the court long before the Bility’s case.
The Judge reasoned that the only issue before the court for determination is whether the pending of other cases, constitute a good cause to deny the defense’s motion to dismiss the indictment.
“The court says the pending of other cases before the court for a long period of time is not a good cause by the prosecution for which a motion to dismiss an indictment should be denied,” Judge Gbeneweleh said.
He pointed out that the word, ‘shall’ used in the statute is mandatory and not discretionary.
Judge Gbeneweleh emphatically told the court that the reason which prosecution relied upon of the docket being overcrowded with other case is not a statutory ground, or good cause shown by the state to deny Bility’s motion.
The Judge dismissed the indictment without prejudice to the state and further ordered the Clerk of the court to return Bility’s criminal appearance bond with immediate effect.
The Government of Liberia indicted defendant Bility along with his co-defendants Ellen Kwame Corkrum and Melvin Johnson on February 4, 2013.
Prior to their indictment, Bility, now president of the Liberian Football Association (LFA) served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Liberia Airport Authority (LAA), while Corkrum served as Managing Director of the LAA.
Co-defendant Johnson, Corkrum’s boyfriend, served as a consultant for the Diaspora Consulting Engineering Inc, Momar-Dieng, for the designing of the pavement of the Roberts International Airport (RIA).
The Judge’s decision to dismiss the indictment against Bility was predicated upon a motion filed by his lawyers contending that the Government has failed, refused and neglected to proceed with the case after two successive term of court.