By: Judicial Contributor
Liberia-July 4, 2023: Criminal Court “A” Judge Roosevelt Willie on July 4, 2023 denied a request to release on bail Former Chief Justice Gloria Musa -Scott and three others members of the family charged with multiple offenses including Murder, criminal conspiracy in the death of Charloe Musu.
In his ruling, Judge Willie said, “the law says all persons, the law did not distinguish as to who should be bailed when they commit grave or capital offenses.”
Initially, the defendants Lawyers had argued that Cllr Gloria Musu-Scott should be placed on personal recognizance ( bail) because she is a former Chief Justice, former Senator and who has held many positions in this Country of trust and is a State’s woman.
However, Judge Willie said the issue raised by the defense team that Cllr. Gloria Musu-Scott is a State’s woman who has served in many capacities in this country, is true, “ but the Law says all persons.”
According to Willie, Article 21(d)(i) of the 1986 constitution, which he quoted by saying, “all accused persons shall be billable upon their personal recognizance or by sufficient sureties depending on the gravity of the crime unless crimes of capital offenses or grave offenses as defined by law”.
He furthered ruled, “ that the foundation is if you are charged with a capital offense or a grave offense, you are not entitled to Bail.”
Addressing himself to an argument by the defendants’ team that the indictment did not substantively charged the defendants or charged the person who committed the Crime of Murder, the judge said the indictment named those who committed the crime of Murder as Gloria Musu Scott, Getrude Newton, Alice Johnson and Rebecca Youdeh Wisner.
According to him, the proceeding is not the place to prove who actually committed that murder or how it was committed because that burden is on the Prosecution to establish during the trial of the main case.
He went on to say that, “While it is true that when the indictment has been presented to the Defendants to prove that is on the defendants, all Prosecution can do here is to debunk that statement and therefore the proper time will come for Prosecution to prove beyond all reasonable doubt how these Defendants committed the crime of Murder,” he noted.
In their motion for dismissal, the Defendants lawyers also argued that the Law placed former Chief Justice who committed Murder or similar crime on Bail and therefore this Court will no be in error if it did similar thing.
The judge concluded that “the Motion to admit to Bail is hereby denied and prove beyond all reasonable doubt as required by our law will be shown when this case is assigned where the Prosecution will be ordered to prove beyond all reasonable doubt the guilt of the Defendants.
Arguing on behalf of state prosecutors, Cllr. Lafayette Gould quoted Article 11(c) of the Liberian Constitution which says, all persons are equal before the law. So positions should not matter.
Cllr. Gould informed court that the positions of the former Chief Justice should not the center of this because it’s the life of a young Liberian girl they are discussing.
Another state prosecutor Cllr. Bobby Livingstone argued why should the law be crumble or be twisted in her favor based on titles she held as a former Chief Justice.
Cllr. Livingstone argued that the alleged murder case is not about who status is involved but rather a young Liberian girl who loss her life in cold blood and we as lawyers should not based our argument on sentiments but the laws.
He prayed court to deny, dismiss movant motion to admit to bail and grant onto respondents any reliefs that may deem equitable.
In defending herself, former Chief Justice Gloria Musu Scott argued that prosecution has already convicted them without being found guilty that’s why they are been treated as convicted Criminals.
Cllr. Scott indicated that state prosecutors are convinced that they committed murder without looking for the killer(s).
“What standard has court set for writ of arrest and she quoted Article 21(e).
She added that writ of arrest is a powerful document because it takes away their constitutional rights, life, properties and other but their writ of arrest didn’t details anything about which shouldn’t be taken serious by the court.
Justice Scott revealed that indictment alone cannot restrain her liberty and the court should not be used to violate the constitutional rights of others.
She prayed court to grant her bail as she remains available to the public and her lawyers whenever the court needs her.