Liberia: Judge Recuses Himself from Hearing Oliver Dillion’s Murder Case

Defendant Oliver Dillon

Monrovia – Judge Roosevelt Willie Monday, November 18, recused himself from further hearing the murder case involving Oliver Dillion, who has been in detention for the last seven months.

Dillion’s case was ordered transferred by Judge Willie to the Criminal Court “B” at the Temple of Justice for this November Term. The defendant’s lawyers took exception to the court’s ruling and promised to take advantage of the law.

Judge Willie’s recusal from the case was announced in his ruling handed down Monday, November 18 at the Criminal Court “A” at the Temple of Justice.

The judge’s ruling was centered on the prosecution’s motion filed to have him recused himself from the case due to his earlier decision in the case to admit Defendant Dillon to bail.

Dillon was admitted to bail by Judge Willie in October 2019 after granting defense lawyers’ motion filed to admit him to bail after arguing that the police charge sheet and indictment, which charged Defendant Dillion with murder did not have the elements of premeditation and malice which are key critical elements for one to be charged with murder.

“During the May Term of Court, a motion was filed before this court by the Defendant for him to be placed on bail and the cause of that bail was proof was not evident and presumption not great and that was grounded on the Criminal Procedure Law Section 13.1.1,” said Judge Willie’s ruling.

The prosecution lawyers resisted the judge’s ruling to admit Dillion to bail and filed a Writ of Certiorari to the then Justice-In-Chamber Joseph Nagbe to review his ruling arguing that Judge Willie was in error to admit Dillon to bail that there were elements in both the police charge sheet and the indictment to link him to the murder charge.

Justice-In-Chamber Nagbe set-aside Judge Willie’s ruling after a hearing adding that there was an element in the charge sheet and indictment to link the defendant to murder.

At the start of the case, the prosecution again asked Judge Willie to recuse himself taking into account his previous ruling to admit Dillon to bail and that of the ruling of Associate Justice Nagbe ruling to overturn his ruling.

“Wherefore and in view of the foregoing facts and circumstances, prosecution for the state prays your honor that you have yourself recused in order for the court to exercise cool neutrality over the subject matter and grant unto the prosecution any other relief that may deem just and legal,” said the prosecution

The prosecution further stated that at the time of the ruling of the judge to admit the Defendant to bail he touched the merit of the case.

Prior to his ruling to recuse himself, Judge Willie admitted touching the merit of the case when he ruled to admit the Defendant to bail.

“In view, therefore, the motion for recusal as applied for by the prosecution is hereby granted based on the fact that this court has touched the merit of the case,” Judge Willie ruled.

Defendant Oliver Dillon, the Coordinator of Decentralization at the Ministry of Transport and brother of Senator Abraham Darius Dillon, was arrested, charged with murder and detained at the Monrovia Central Prison on Wednesday, April 17, 2019.

According to the police charge sheet, Defendant Dillon allegedly stabbed victim Emmanuel Koffa twice in the chest when Koffa and two other persons to be identified engaged him in the darkness with a scissor with aggression and malicious intent.