Liberia: Supreme Court Reserves Ruling in Super FM Journalist’s Murder Case

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Monrovia – The Supreme Court has reserved ruling into the alleged murder case of Super FM/TV Journalist Tyron A. Browne.

The ruling was reserved following legal arguments between state lawyers representing the late journalist and the defense counsels, representing Jonathan K. Williams, Alice Youti and Edwina Youti.

Journalist Browne was murdered on the night of April 15, 2018, in the Duport Road Community along the Kingdom Care Road.

Prior to his death, the deceased worked as a journalist with Super FM/TV, own by businessman George B. Kailondo.

The case was taken to the Supreme Court based on an appeal through a Writ of Certiorari, requesting the full bench to reverse the ruling of Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh, who had ruled in favor of Jonathan K. Williams, Alice Youti and Edwina Youti, defendants in the murder trial.

Jonathan Williams was charged with murder while Alice Youti and Edwina Youti were charged with hindering law enforcement in connection with Journalist Browne’s death.

Associate Justice Yuoh ruled in favor of the defendants after their motions — motion for separate trial, motion for change of venue and motion to dismiss indictment — were denied by presiding Judge Roosevelt Z. Willie of Criminal Court ‘A’.

In her ruling, Justice Yuoh said: “Wherefore and in view of all that have been stated, the alternative writ of certiorari is hereby affirmed, and the peremptory writ of certiorari is ordered issued. The two rulings of the trial judge denied both the motion for a separate trial from defendant Jonathan Williams by petitioners Alice Youti and Edwina Youti.

“And the motion for change of venue by petitioner Jonathan Williams are hereby reversed, with the instruction that the matter regarding petitioners Alice and Edwina Youti be transferred to the appropriate magisterial court; and further instruction against petitioner Jonathan Williams be transferred to the 16th Judicial Circuit Court, Gbarpolu County in accordance with the law regarding such transfer and that the trial thereto be prioritized.”

During argument at the Criminal Court ‘A’, the defense lawyer of Alice Youti and Edwina Youti, Cllr. Jonathan Massaquoi, argued that the crime of hindering law enforcement cannot be tried with a murder suspect, requesting Judge Willie to separate his clients’ trial from Jonathan Williams.

He also argued that Judge Willie does not have jurisdiction over the crime of hindering law enforcement, therefore, he also argued that the case be transferred to the Magisterial Court.

While Jonathan Williams’ lawyers argued for change of venue on grounds that their client will not have a fair trial in Montserrado County due to public sentiments in the case.

But state lawyers argued that the defendants cannot be tried separately on grounds that the actions of Alice and Edwina complimented the act of murder. They also argued that there are no public sentiments in the case to grant defendant Williams a change of venue. 

During Tuesday’s (July 16) argument at the Supreme Court, state lawyers also proffered the same arguments while the defense counsels also maintained their arguments on behalf of their clients.

Following the arguments, the Supreme Court’s Full Bench reserved ruling into the alleged murder case of the late journalist Browne for a later date.

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