Monrovia - Ahead of his much publicized trial slated for Friday, February 17, former House Speaker Alex Tyler has requested the Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice to deny and dismiss the amended indictment of the Special Presidential Taskforce against him.
The Special Presidential Task Force, on February 8 amended its May 2016 indictment which charged Tyler and other government officials of multiple criminal offences including bribery, economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy, facilitation and solicitation.
In the amended indictment which the taskforce says is based on the discovery of new evidence against the defendants, it accused Tyler of demanding for US$250,000 from Sable Mining but he instead received US$75,000 as bribe to change the Public Procurement Concession Commission law in favor of the Sable Mining so that the company would gain concession rights to mine the Wologisi Mountain in Lofa County.
The special task force, in its motion of amended indictment, said the statute provides that amendment can also be done upon the trial of an indictment or complaint when there appears a variance between the allegation in the indictment and the evidence offered in proof in respect to any fact, name or description not material to the charge of the offense.
“Wherefore and in view of the foregoing, movant prays your honour to grant movant’s motion to amend indictment and grant unto movant any and all relief equitable and just,” said the Special Presidential Task Force motion to the court filed by Chief Prosecutor Cllr. Daku Mulbah.
But in his apparent resistance filed to the court on Wednesday, February 17, the legal counsel for the indicted former speaker, Cllr. Amara Sherriff argued that there are two separate and distinct indictments in the case - one being in May 2016 and another in November 2016 - that the defendants indicted by the grand Jury of Montserrado County are separate and distinct from the defendants that were indicted during the November 2016 Term.
In the previous indictment, it was alleged that the defendant received US$75k in bribes from Sable Mining. The amended indictment stated that the defendant asked for US$250k in bribes but was given only 75k.
Cllr. Sheriff also argued that the two indictments, which are separate with different defendants, are not applicable under the law without consolidating the two indictments irrespective of the crimes alleged.
He continued that under Chapter 14.7 of the Criminal Procedure Law, only one indictment can be amended and not multiple indictments and that the prerequisites to amending the two indictments is to have a single and unified indictment before the amendment.
Cllr Sheriff said that procedure has not been done, therefore the motion to amend the two separate indictments should be denied as a matter of law.
According to the resistance, which legally means a counter reaction to a motion, Tyler’s lawyer argued that the indictment, without consolidation, cannot be jointly amended in one motion as the defendants in May 2016 Term of Court indictment have the right to separate trial while the defendants named in November term are not the same defendants.
“Wherefore and in view of the foregoing co-defendant Tyler prays your honour and the honourable court to deny and dismiss movant’s motion to amend indictments that have not consolidated in its entirety and grant unto co-respondent Tyler any other and further relief as the law, equity and justice demand in the premises” said Cllr. Sherriff.
Presiding Judge Yarmie Gbeisay is to hold argument pros and cons into the motion to amend indictment and its subsequent resistance on Thursday at the Criminal Court “C” at 10:a.m.