Liberia: Criminal Court ‘A’ Upholds Ruling for Cummings to Produce Original CPP Framework Document
MONROVIA – Criminal Court “A” Judge Roosevelt Willie has ruled against a petition filed by Defense Lawyers representing Mr. Alexander B. Cummings, reaffirming the Monrovia City Court 72 hours ultimatum for Mr. Cummings to provide the original copy of the CPP Frame Work Document, but defense lawyers say they will take an appeal to the Supreme Court.
In his January 26 ruling, Magistrate Jomah Jallah gave a 72-hour ultimatum for the ANC Political Leader to surrender the Collaborating Political Parties’ original framework documents to prosecuting lawyers for his prosecution.
The Stipendiary Magistrate of the Monrovia City Court ruling maintained that the CPP Framework Document is a public document and was not self-incriminating, as such Cummings needs to surrender the instrument for his prosecution.
Judge Jallah cited Article 21(h) of the Constitution as his legal reliance for his ruling and maintained that the ANC Political Leader needs to surrender the CPP’s Framework Document to kick off the litigation at the Monrovia City Court.
“This court, therefore, holds and submits that the constitutional privilege against self-incrimination as provided for under Article 21 (h) of the 1986 Constitution does not apply to business records, public documents or political contracts that are normally executed by the parties own rules and regulations as they may deem fit. That said motion should be and same is hereby granted as a matter of law,” Judge Jallah stressed.
He continued, “The respondents are hereby ordered to bring and produce to this court within 72 hours, the two (2) copies of the same original signed framework document of May 19, 2020, as of the date of this ruling.”
However, Cummings lawyers filed a summary proceeding at Criminal Court ‘A,’ challenging Judge Jallah’s Wednesday, January 26 ruling, requesting the defendant to provide evidence for the government to prosecute him.
But Judge Willie in his Thursday, February 10 ruling, stated that the Collaborating Political Party is an association and a public entity and other members should not be denied access to the original copy of its Framework Document.
Judge Willie added that Cummings and other defendants who served as Chairman and Secretary-General at the same time when the Framework Document was crafted were agents of the CPP and have no right to refuse to provide the document to other parties.
“The petitioners being agents of the CPP should have provided the original Copy of the framework document and the mandate given by the magistrate is not in their private capacities, but as a public document,” Judge Willie averred.
The Judge further noted that the mandate provided by Magistrate Jallah is not in their private capacities, but as a public document and his ruling cannot be considered as providing evidence against the defendants.
“The magistrate ruling cannot be considered as providing evidence against themselves as the CPP Framework Document is a public document and the court hereby affirmed the Magistrate of the Lower Court decision to produce the Framework document within 72 hours as of the ruling of this court,”
The defense team led by Cllr. Abraham Sillah took excepted to the ruling.
Meanwhile, Solicitor General Syrenius Cephus said he is optimistic that government will win the case and that the same ruling will be in favor of them if the defense team goes to the Supreme Court.
Cllr. Sillah has maintained that it was against the jurisprudence and the Constitution of Liberia to compel a defendant to produce evidence against him/herself.
The case is an alleged criminal proceeding in which Mr. Cummings and two officials of the Alternative National Congress are being accused of Forgery and Criminal Conspiracy.