Liberia: Prosecution Requests Time to Produce Evidence in Cummings’ Trial
MONROVIA – Despite instituting a criminal proceeding against the political leader of the Alternative National Congress about a fortnight ago, the state prosecutors have requested the Court to grant them five days to produce the pieces of evidence, names and addresses of witnesses to substantiate the allegations against the ANC trio.
Their request was made after lawyers representing Mr. Alexander Cummings, Secretary-General Aloysius Toe and ANC Chairman Senator Daniel Naateh requested the Judge to order the prosecution to share with them their evidence and names of witnesses on Wednesday.
At the Wednesday proceeding, the three men from the ANC who are on trial for forgery and criminal conspiracy pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The complaint was filed against by the All Liberian Party of businessman Benoni Urey, who along with Mr. Cummings, the Liberty Party and the Unity Party are all members of the CPP.
Urey and his ALP had alleged that Cummings as the then chairman of the CPP forged their leaders’ signatures and tampered with sections of the CPP Framework Document.
Cummings has maintained his innocence and insists that the allegations are merely intended to tarnish his reputation as a forerunner for the CPP standard bearer position.
Meanwhile, Judge Jomah Jallah on Wednesday denied the prosecution’s request to televise an ongoing trial involving ANC Political Leader Alexander B. Cummings and two officials of his party.
During his appearance last Thursday, January 6, at the start of his trial, State Prosecutors filed an motion to the court praying that the proceeding be televised so that Liberians in and outside the country can view the proceedings due to its crucial nature.
But defense counsel objected to the request on grounds that there is no law that permits televising trials in Liberia and that such has never taken place in any criminal proceeding in a court.
“The Legislature has not created any law for that, and the provision of the Constitution was wrongfully cited by the prosecuting lawyer,” Cllr. E. Oratio Gould stressed.
“The right to a speedy trial is reserved for the defendant to ensure a speedy trial, but did not in any way provide for a speedy trial to be televised,” Cllr. Gould maintained.
Cllr. Gould craved the court to deny the motion which he believes is intended to politicize the proceeding.
Following both arguments on whether to or to not televise trial Judge Jallah reserved ruling in the case.
However, during his reappearance on Wednesday, January 12, Judge Jallah quoted Rule 11 of the Judicial Canon of Liberia, which he said prevents live coverage in court, including taking pictures, recording, among others.
Judge Jallah maintained that granting such application to the state would be improper and reversible to the law and there is no precedence to such pleading, thereby denying Prosecution’s request.