Liberia: Cummings’ Lawyers Term Delay in Trial as “Total Gangsterism” As Court Suspends Trial for “Administrative Reasons”￼
Monrovia – One of the lawyers representing Defendant Alexander B. Cummings and two officials of the Alternative National Congress has termed as “total gangsterism,” and a violation of the rights of the defendants the delay in the ongoing criminal proceeding by the prosecution.
“This is total gangsterism and we want the world to know that because they have no evidence against Mr. Cummings and officials, they continue to implore delay tactics,” Atty. Lafayette Horatio Gould.
Atty. Lafayette H. Gould told Judicial Reporters Tuesday, May 10, that the abrupt suspension of the trial for fear that the courtyard was overcrowded, was not a substantive reason to delay the proceeding.
On Tuesday, the proceedings linking Alternative National Congress Political Leader Cummings and two others to allege forgery and Criminal Conspiracy could not continue after Monrovia City Court Magistrate Jomah Jallah suspended the trial for administrative reasons.
Former Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai and Unity Party Secretary-General Mohammed Ali were expected to appear in court Tuesday, as state witnesses, to testify against Cummings and others, who have continuously stated that they are falsely being excused.
However, Boakai and Ali were not spotted on the grounds of the Monrovia City Court until Judge Jallah suspended the trial, pending notice of assignment.
FrontPageAfrica gathered that the presence of the huge crowd, and chanting slogans against Solicitor General Syrenius Cephus had created fear for the trial to proceed, despite the Judge’s pronouncement of administrative reason.
Solicitor-General Cephus, following the Judge’s pronouncement noted that the court was unhealthy for the trial to continue because the scene was political.
Cephus said it was risky that the trial should continue under a political atmosphere.
Atty. Gould noted that the reason given for the suspension of the trial is not substantive to delay the case.
According to him, the concern raised by the prosecution shows that they have no case, but are intending to play with the Liberty of ‘a lawful person.”
“They come and say the court is too packed and the witnesses could not come to testify under such an atmosphere, what is this,” Gould opined.
Gould further notes that the accused has the right to a speedy trial and cannot be under criminal charges indefinitely.
He is worried about why the case is being prosecuted for five months now, noting that it is beyond the statutory period of such a proceeding.
Gould believes that for the proceeding to prolong beyond its statutory period is a clear violation of the rights of those accused.
He wants the Prosecution to put forth evidence and come to court, stating that reason given that the courtroom is overcrowded is no reason to prevent Boakai and Ali to appear as state witnesses to testify against Cummings.
“Today, the courtroom is too charged and their witnesses are afraid to come. What is that, when you have control over all securities,” Atty. Gould stressed.
At the same time, when quizzed about his position on negative slogans towards Cllr. Cephus, Gould maintained that it was the right of individuals to express themselves without violence.
Meanwhile, Atty. Gould had termed the ongoing prosecution of Cummings, ANC Chairman Daniel Naatehn, and the party’s Secretary-General Aloysius Toe for alleged forgery and criminal conspiracy as a “bogus trial.”