LIBERIA: FORMER CHIEF JUSTICE AND THREE OTHERS JAILED

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At long last, Magistrate L. Ben Barco of the Monrovia City Court on Thursday, June 22, 2023 jailed former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, Cllr. Musu Scott and three of her family members- Rebecca Youdeh Wisner, Gertrude Newton, and Alice Johnson at the Monrovia Central Prison common known as South Beach for the crimes of Murder, Criminal Conspiracy and False Reports to Law Enforcement Officials.

The late Charloe Musu was murdered at their home in Brewersville, outside Monrovia on February 22, 2023.

This comes a day after the former Chief Justice filed a Writ of Habeas Corpus before the Criminal Court ‘C’ Judge Blamo Dixon against the Government of Liberia(GoL) to release her living body. Judge Dixon ruled for the State to release Madam Scott and others to her legal Counsels.

But on yesterday, the State filed a formal complaint before Magistrate Barco at Monrovia City Court, asserting that Madam Scott and others used a sharp instrument believed to be knife, colluded , connived and conspired to stab victim Charloe Musu multiple times resulting to her untimely death.

Upon that complaint, Magistrate Barco ordered the arrest of Madam Scott and others for said crimes.

“You are hereby commanded to arrest the living bodies of Gloria Musu-Scott, Getrude Newton, Rebecca Youdeh. Wisner and Alice Johnson-DEFENDANT/S to be identified, and forthwith bring them before the Monrovia City Court, Temple of Justice Building, Montserrado County to answer to the CHARGES OF Murder, Criminal Conspiracy and False Reports to Law Enforcement Officials based upon the oath and complaint of the Republic of Liberia by & thru MINISTRY OF JUSTICE PLAINTIFF in which it is substantially alleged as follows to wit: IN VIOLATION OF SECTION 14.1, 10.4 &12.33 OF THE NEW PENAL LAW OF LIBERIA,” Magistrate Barco instructed.

He furthered: “The Ministry of Justice appears before this Honorable Court on the 22nd day of June 2023 and complaint on oath of the within named defendants of Lower Virginia, Montserrado County, Republic of Liberia and says that on the 22nd of February, 2023, the Defendants did there and then by means of a sharp instrument believed to be a knife, collude, connive, and conspire to stab victim Charloe Musu multiple times resulting to her untimely death. Furthermore, the Defendants reported to the police that the death of the deceased was caused by the stabbing done by an unknown man who intruded into their house; but police investigation established that said account is false and misleading.”

The state contented that said acts of the defendants were being: Criminal, illegal and unconstitutional and done with the intent and purpose to take away the life of another individual the crimes of Murder, Criminal Conspiracy and False Reports to Law Enforcement Officials the Defendants did do and commit.

Appearing in court to hear said Writ by both Counselors, both parties prayed to the court to make a submission after the reading of the writ.

Defense Counsel cited Article 21 H of the 1986, which states that, “No person shall be held to answer for a capital or infamous crime except in cases of impeachment, cases arising in the Armed Forces and petty offenses, unless upon indictment by Grand Jury; and in all such cases, the accused shall have the right to a speedy, public and impartial trial by a jury of the vicinity, unless such person shall, with appropriate understanding, expressly waive the right to a jury trial. In all criminal cases, the accused shall have the right to be represented by counsel of his choice, to confront witnesses against him and to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor. He shall not be compelled to furnish evidence against himself and he shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved beyond a reasonable doubt. No person shall be subject to double jeopardy.”

The defense counsel requested the court to grant the defendants bail.

In resistance, the State argued that a charge is made against an accused who is considered fruit not be evidence and the fact and circumstances should be clear, adding that there hasn’t been any effort made to provide that the crimes were not committed and the court should take judicial notice of the law 13.1 cited by the defense counsels. They requested the court to deny, dismiss and ignore the premature bail filed by the defense counsels.

They cited that Article 21 Paragraph D of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, which states that, “All accused persons shall be bailable upon their personal recognizance or by sufficient sureties, defending on the gravity of the charge, unless charged for capital offenses or grave offenses as defense by law. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fine imposed, nor excessive punishment inflicted.”

However, they prayed that the court deny, dismiss and ignore the premature bail l filed by the defendants because it is a capital offense.

After listening to both lawyers law citation to the application of the defendants Bail Bond, Magistrate Barco reserved ruling to return on June 23, 2023.

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