Liberia: Court Clears Three Clergymen of Criminal Charges
Monrovia – The Criminal Court ‘B’ at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia has cleared three clergymen of the Christian Revival Church of the crimes of Felonious Restraint and Simple Assault.
The Christian Revival Church (CRC) is located on 13th Street Sinkor, Cheeseman Avenue, Monrovia.
Dennis T. Aggrey, Jonathan V. Wolobah and John Y. Kucuyoyoigee were cleared of the charges of Felonious Restraint and Simple Assault on June 25, 2019 due to insufficient evidence to convict them.
The three clergymen were taken to court by Pastor Abraham Gargannah of the same church (CRC) for allegedly beating him.
According to Pastor Gargannah, on Sunday, July 1, 2018, during service hours, he was assaulted and denied access to his church office by the trio.
Gargannah further explained that during the service, Wolobah went on the pulpit and announced to the congregation that he (Gargannah) is an assistant pastor while referring to Aggrey as the senior pastor.
An act, which he (Gargannah) said, he tried to correct but two of the three men, Kucuyoyoigee and Wolobah squeezed his hands to get the microphone away so that he would not say a word to the congregation.
Gargannah explained that while they were tussling over the microphone, Aggrey left the congregation and punched him in the right ear.
He further narrated that the tussle led to his shirt button being torn off, adding that he was also shoved off the pulpit and pushed out of the church.
He also explained that when he went to the hospital for check-up along with his father, the medical report showed that he developed inflammation which resulted in mild hearing loss.
During trial of the case at the Monrovia City Court, Associate Magistrate Lassana L. Kamara ruled that the three clergymen were not guilty of Felonious Restrain but rather guilty of Simple Assault.
Magistrate Kamara then ordered that the three clergymen be jailed for four months and pay the fine of US$400 each into the Judiciary account.
Following Magistrate Kamara’s ruling, the defense lawyer representing the three clergymen took an appeal to the Criminal Court ‘B’ for further determination into the matter.
In Judge George S. Wiles of Criminal Court ‘B’s ruling, he said: “To prove Simple Assault, there are three elements which must be proved in order to set a conviction. They are: Intent, Reasonable Apprehension and Harm.”
He adds: In the case at bar, the above-mentioned elements were never proven by the prosecutors or private prosecutor. Our Criminal Procedure Law, Chapter 2, Section 2.1, says “A defendant in a criminal action is presumed to be innocent until the contrary is proved and in case of reasonable doubt, whether his guilt is satisfactorily shown, he is entitled to an acquittal.”
Judge Wiles further added that Magistrate Kamara was in error to have ruled against the three clergymen when the private prosecutor could not present sufficient evidence to prove his case.
“To prove an injury sustained by a medical report, the medical practitioner writing the said report is the best person to interpret the report, and not the victim himself. This was an error on the part of the hearing magistrate.”
Judge Wiles continues: “Wherefore and in view of the foregoing, the judgement of the lower court is hereby reversed and the hearing magistrate is hereby ordered to return the bail bond filed with court, and allow the defendants, Dennis T. Aggrey, Jonathan V. Wolobah and John Y. Kucuyoyoigee to go about their normal businesses and not to answer to the charge of Simple Assault again. The Clerk of this Honorable Court is also ordered to do a communication to the hearing Magistrate, informing him of this Court’s decision. And it is hereby so ordered. Matter reversed.”