Supreme Court Orders Resumption of Darlington George Assault Trial
Monrovia – Supreme Court Associate Justice in Chambers, Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh has mandated the presiding judge of Criminal Court “B” at the Temple of Justice to resume jurisdiction and allow the state prosecutors to submit the evidence in the brutality case against the former Deputy Director Executive Protection Service (EPS), Darlington George.
Report by Bettie K. Johnson Mbayo, [email protected]
Justice Yuoh’s mandate on Friday January 20 followed a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by prosecutors against Judge Koboi Nuta of Criminal Court “B”.
The petition filed against the judge, currently in possession of FPA, states that the writ of certiorari should be placed by the Supreme Court to review and correct the judge’s ruling.
The petition states that the judge ruled, denying the marking of key instruments which, prosecutors said, has nothing more substantial to rely on than the Police investigative report and the charge sheet that was received by the defense counsel.
“The disappearance of documents from the file of court is gross and gruesome and it plays a very negative image of the court system”
“Therefore in the mind of the petitioner/ prosecution, every judge, lawyer or court officer needs prioritize investigation in such matters and not to sweep it under the rug, so that persons responsible for such acts can be brought to justice, this was the prayed by us and the judge flouted and spanked it,” the prosecution stated.
“As a consequence of these perennial illegal rulings of the judge, the state prosecutors no longer have faith in the trial of this matter before this judge.”
The prosecution requested the Supreme Court to have the key evidence marked because all of the instruments were identified by the witness on the stand.
“Institute urgent investigation by involving captain Paul Freeman of the Gardnesville Magisterial Court and other clerical staff of the court to show the whereabouts of the instruments including the clothing, bra and under blouse of the victim, Esther Glain and the original copies of the various statements of all witnesses,” the Prosecution asserted.
Prosecution lead lawyer, Cllr. Sunifu Sheriff, prayed the court to allow principal witness Jennifer Barduo, statement which, according to them, is germane to form part of the record.
Furthermore, the prosecution requested the judge to recuse himself from further proceeding with the matter on grounds that they (state) won’t have an impartial trial.
Prior to the filing of the petition by the prosecution to the Supreme Court, the Presiding judge of Criminal Court “B” Koboi Nuta was hearing defendants Darlington George and James Tamba who are indicted for Aggravated Assault and Criminal Facilitation during the August 2015 term of court.
On September 15, 2015, the former EPS Deputy Director was relieved of his post by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on grounds that he assaulted Esther Glain.
The Executive Mansion said it “will not condone such an act of sheer indiscipline and total lack of morals on the part of any member of State security institutions especially the EPS, which has been subject to thorough psychological reform in order to give a human face to the public service they are entrusted to perform.”
Ms. Glain explained that she was trying to settle a dispute between her friends who were fussing when Darlington George came very close to them with his vehicle, nearly hitting them.
“When she went to confront him about his offensive behavior, she said George began to use profane expressions at her and her friends, calling them “prostitutes”.
Eyewitnesses explained that Glain returned a similar expletive concerning his mother, which infuriated the EPS Deputy who started “punching and kicking her… and ordered his bodyguard to hit her with a bottle in his hand.”
She explained that Darlington George boasted that he is Ellen’s son and “nothing would be done” to him for assaulting her.
The trial, which is said to be the only ongoing at the court out of 12 cases docketed for the court’s term, has been dragging for a term due to the several issues ranging from the judge not appearing in court on time and the mal-functioning of the computer.
Judicial Canon Fifteen on promptness states: “A judge should be prompt in the performance of his judicial duties, recognizing that the time of litigants, jurors and lawyers is of value and habitual lack of punctuality on his part justifies dissatisfaction in his administration of the business of the court.”
Frequently the defendant was always in court along with prosecution witnesses but if Nuta scheduled the trial for 10 am he appeared by either 12pm or 1:00pm.
Recently the judge fined state lawyers to pay a fine of US$100 within 24 hours following prosecution’s fourth witness, police officer Monroe Dennis failure to continue his testimony in the trial.
Judge Nuta said if the prosecution lawyers failed to comply with the court’s ruling within 24 hours, they would be ordered arrested and detained until they can comply.
During the course of the trial last week, prosecution lawyers, Cllrs. Sunifu Sheriff and Kpoto Gizzie told the court that its fourth witness Dennis was sent to Kakata on an assignment by his boss and could not be present to continue his testimony, therefore the court should grant them time (continuance) which the court duly granted.
On Monday, January 16, the two prosecution lawyers again told the court that its fourth witness Dennis was ill and could not appear again.
The prosecutors asked the court for another continuance (time).
But defense counsels, Cllr. Amara Sherriff and Atty. Jonathan Massaquoi early Monday morning informed the court that witness Dennis was not ill and that the application made by the prosecution was intended to delay the trial.
Based on the defense counsels’ information, the court dispatched the clerk and sheriff along with the defense counsel to the LNP Headquarter to ascertain whether the information given by the defense was true.
During the visit at the LNP Headquarters, the court’s staff discovered that witness Dennis was at work and not ill as reported by the prosecution lawyers.
It is not known when the case will resume as the November term has ended and the chamber session has also ended.
It is also unknown if the prosecution will file for the judge to recuse on grounds of what they have termed as his repeated biasness.