Liberia: Varney Sherman, Alex Tyler to Take Witness Stand in Sable Mining Bribery Case
Monrovia – Though former House Speaker Alex Tyler and seven other defendants, including Varney Sherman, on trial for allegedly receiving bribe to change the Public Procurement Commission and Concession (PPCC) Act in favor of Sable Mining to mine the Wologisi Mountain in Lofa County, the pair is expected to take the witness stand soon to exonerate themselves from the charges of economic sabotage, bribery, criminal conspiracy, facilitation and solicitation.
Report by Kennedy L. Yangian, [email protected]
The two co-defendants in the case, either of them is expected to take the witness stand on Monday, July 1, 2019 at 9 a.m. at the Criminal Court “C” at the Temple of Justice.
The defendants will be taking the witness stand at the time when prosecution lawyer, Assistant Justice Minister for Litigation, Cllr. Wesseh Alphonso Wesseh, announced Monday, June 24, 2019 that the prosecution has resolved to rest with the production of both material and documentary evidence and will come back with a subpoena witness/witnesses to court if the need arises
“Your honor, the prosecution begs to inform this court that it has rested with the production of both material and documentary evidence in the case,” said Cllr. Wesseh, who presented to the court 62-count pieces of evidence against the defendants to close his production of evidence.
The pieces of evidence, according to Wesseh, are cogent documents he claimed that prosecution had relied upon to convict the eight defendants. But defense counsel, Cllr. Albert Sims, who called for the review of the evidence, did not make any comment before the court after reviewing.
This according to one legal practitioner shows that the pieces of evidence produced might not be sufficient and strong enough to convict Cllr. Sims’ clients, including Varney Sherman.
Cllr. Sims later called on the court to give the defense counsel up to Monday, July 1, 2019 in order to adequately get prepared to have their first witness to take the stand but prosecution lawyer Cllr. Wesseh objected to the one-week break, which he claimed was a delay tactic employed by the defense counsel.
Judge Peter Gbeneweleh, despite the objection raised by the prosecution, granted the defense counsel up to Monday, July 1, to get their witness(es) on the stand indicating that the one-week break could give the defense counsel/defendants ample chance to defend themselves.
“It is the ruling of this court that the application for time requested by the defense counsel is granted and this case is ordered adjourned and resumed on Monday, July 1,” said Judge Peter Gbeneweleh.
Many legal pundits believed that the defendants taking the witness stand could be a turning point in the case because it will give them the opportunities to speak publicly on the charges since they were indicted after the publication of the May 2016 Report of Global Witness that accused the defendants of allegedly receiving bribes in the amount of US$950,000 from the Sable Mining executives to give the company the right to mine the Wologisi Mountain in Lofa County.