Liberia: ‘16 Billion Case in Dilemma’: Court Gives Govt. Lawyers 7-Day Ultimatum to Proceed or Dismiss Case

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Criminal Court ‘C’ Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay has warned that failure on the part of the prosecution to proceed with the case within the seven- days, the court will have no option but to dismiss the case and have all charges against the former Central Bank of Liberia governor, J. Milton Weeks dismissed.

Monrovia – Criminal Court ‘C’ Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay has given Liberian government lawyers a seven- days ultimatum to proceed with the trial of former Central Bank Governor (CBL) Milton A. Weeks’ trial.

Judge Gbeisay warned that failure on the part of the prosecution to proceed with the case within the seven- days, the court will have no option but to dismiss the case and have all charges against the former CBL governor by the State dismissed.

“Failure on the prosecution, this court will proceed to Sua Sponte the case under section 18.2 and pay its attention to other matters,” Judge Gbeisay

In law, Sua Sponte or Suo Motu describes an act of authority taken without formal prompting from another party. The term is usually applied to actions by a judge taken without a prior motion or request to both parties.

“At the call of this case on yesterday, May 25, 2020 based on a regular notice of assignment, the state again informed court that that it has filed a motion for continuance for another three weeks on grounds that it has initiated discussion with co-defendant Milton A. Weeks to seek an out-of-court resolution and or mitigate the charges. The behavior of the State’s lawyers to which the defense has agreed, seems to be making mockery of the Court and the Justice system”

Judge Yamie Gbeisay

Judge Gbeisay made the statement in his Tuesday’s ruling of May 26, 2020 during the hearing of the case.

Judge Gbeisay also frowned on prosecution for the continuous delay of the case trial, adding that the continuous postponement of the case gives different impression of the court and the judge presiding to the public and tends to erode the public confidence in the Judiciary. 

“At the call of this case on yesterday, May 25, 2020 based on a regular notice of assignment, the state again informed court that that it has filed a motion for continuance for another three weeks on grounds that it has initiated discussion with co-defendant Milton A. Weeks to seek an out-of-court resolution and or mitigate the charges. The behavior of the State’s lawyers to which the defense has agreed, seems to be making mockery of the Court and the Justice system”

He continued: “This court says while the State has the right to Nolle Prosequoi its case under section 18.1 of the criminal procedure law {CPL}, the court also reserve the right to dismiss the case under section 18.2 of the CPL for unnecessary delay as in the instance case. This court cannot be held in hostage by the prosecution until it is ready”.

Judge Gbeisay ruling grew out of Prosecution’s four-counts motion for continuance of the case trial for three weeks.

In the motion, prosecution argued that the three weeks continuance is aim at finding an amicable solution that would mitigate the charge leveled against the former CBL Governor.

Prosecution further argued that it is a practice of law that parties at their own volition can initiate an out-of-court settlement of their case.

“Movant submits that the burden of proving the Indictment drawn against the within named respondent rests on the Movant and where both the Movant and respondent are endearing to find a common ground on the way forward in resolving the matter to save time, energy and resources, it is proper for an application of this sort to be made so that the parties can have ample time to discuss and reach a peaceful agreement before proceeding,” excerpt of prosecution’s motion for continuance.

In his ruling, Judge Gbeisay granted the prosecution’s motion for continuance and gave the prosecution one week (seven days} instead of three weeks.

“The prosecution’s motion for continuance is therefore hereby granted with modification that it reverts to this court in seven days. Failure of which this court will proceed to Sua Sponte and dismiss the case under section 18.2 and pay its attention to other matters,” he ruled.

Co-defendant Milton A. Weeks, former CBL Governor, Charles E. Sirleaf, Deputy CBL Governor and others were Indicted on June 14, 2019 for the alleged commission of the crimes of Economic Sabotage, Money Laundering, criminal conspiracy and criminal solicitation in connection to the alleged ‘missing L$16 Billion’ saga.

But on May 13, 2020, the State dropped charges against Charles E. Sirleaf and others excluding co-defendant Milton A. Weeks.

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