Liberia: Judge Jomah Jallah’s Ruling Compelling Cummings to ‘Provide Evidence against Himself’ to be Reviewed
MONROVIA – Judge Roosevelt Willie of Criminal Court ‘A’ has cited the Magistrate of the Monrovia City Court, Jomah Jallah, for a review of his ruling which tends to compel Mr. Alexander Cummings of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) to produce the original copy of the Collaborative Political Parties (CPP) Framework Document.
The legal team of Alexander B. Cummings has filed a Summary Proceeding in Circuit Court ‘A’ challenging judge Jomah Jallah’s ruling of Wednesday, January 26, 2022 that the government, prosecutors in the forgery and criminal conspiracy case (Government of Liberia versus Alexander B. Cummings), which requested the defendant to provide evidence for the government to prosecute him.
What remains unclear is that at the top of the prosecution’s list of evidence presented to the Defense through the court is the original copy of Framework Document which they now claim they do not have.
According to the Cummings’ team, Judge Jomah’s rulinghas never seen in the courts of Liberia and it leaves many with the thought that this case is simply a witch hunt to slow Alex Cummings down or eliminate him from the presidential race.
The circuit court judge has stayed the ruling and any further hearings in the case and has scheduled a conference in his chambers on February 2, 2022 at 11:00am.
A fortnight ago, the State prosecutor, Solicitor General Cllr. Syrennius Cephus prayed the court for ‘SUPENO DU CE TECUM’ which will compel Mr. Cummings to produce the original copy of the CPP Framework Document.
According to Cllr. Cephus, there were five copies of the Framework Document signed to be distributed amongst member party within the CPP following the submission of the document to the National Elections Commission, but same was never done by Cummings up to date.
Cummings’ lawyers had argued that it was against the jurisprudence and the Constitution of Liberia to compel a defendant to produce evidence against him/herself.
However, in his ruling on Wednesday, Judge Jomah Jallah stated that the document in question is a public document and not self-incriminating to any of the parties, as such, Cummings needs to turn over the instrument.
According to Judge Jallah, Article 21(h) of the Constitution as his legal reliance for his action 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 after pleading not guilty to allegation of forgery and criminal conspiracy.
“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 led by Cllr. Abrahim Sillah took exception to Magistrate Jallah’s ruling, saying they will take advantage of the law controlling.
Magistrate Jallah’s ruling is a major boost for prosecuting lawyers, as the evidence in question is crucial for them in establishing their case against the ANC Political Leader and his two officials on allegation of forgery and criminal conspiracy.