Liberia- July 10, 2023: Like scores of legal pundits and surprised members of the public, the family of former Chief Justice, Gloria musu Scott, is crying out against what appears to be a calculated attempt to keep her and others in prison perpetually in violation and abuse of their constitutional and fundamental human rights, terming it as a return to liberia’s dark era.
Justice Scott and three members of her family have spent more than four hundred hours in detention since their arrest by the Liberia national police on alleged charges of murder, criminal conspiracy and making false statements to law enforcement officers, but the state is yet to present to the defendants’ lawyers the material evidence upon which they arrested and charged the accused as in keeping with law and practice.
The spokesperson of the Musu family, Mr. Nathaniel Toe said, with the unjustifiable refusal of the state to obey the court’s mandate and furnish their lawyers with the reliant pieces of evidence on which the charges were drawn, the family and other members of the public now fear that there are serious efforts and attempts by powerful political movers and shakers influencing the prosecution to disobey the court and weaponized the legal process against justice Scott and her family.
Like the Musu family, several legal pundits have expressed serious concerns and raised key questions of why did the government rush to arrest, charge, indict and detain Justice Scott and family members without evidence, following over four months of police investigation, or why is the state refusing to present it’s evidence to the legal team of the accused as required by law and practice.
The judge of criminal court A, His Honor Roosevelt Z. Willie, ruled on Tuesday July 4, 2023 and mandated the prosecution or government of Liberia to turn over all material pieces of evidence including police report, autopsy report, coroner’s report, picture of the murder weapon, etc, relied upon by the government to charge cllr. Scott, 80 year old Rebecca Youdeh Wisner, Gertrude newton and Alice Johnson.
Many lawyers have opined that in the true enforcement of law and justice in a civilized environment, the defense lawyers did not even have to request or demand the government to present them with the material evidence upon which their clients were arrested and charged.
They argued that the framers of the constitution did not intend that it’s articles and provisions would aide and abet the police or prosecutors to violate and abuse the rights of accused persons at will, and that’s why constitutional articles and statues are there to guide and direct how the processes of investigation, arrest and charging are carried out.
They maintained that in this particular case, the state arrested, charged and detained justice Scott and others, and the jurisdictional court has duly mandated that all pieces of material evidence be given to the legal team of the accused, in keeping with the required procedure, and so it is surprising and unbelievable for a civilized and democratic government to deliberately ignore and disrespect the court’s mandate.
This saga is in no doubt, drawing not only the attention of legal minds, but also followers of the legal process since in fact, the constitution provides and mandates that any person suspected or accused of committing a crime shall, immediately upon arrest be told in detail of the crime he or she is accused of committing, so, why and how, that after over four months of investigation which led to arrest charges and indictment, the government is still unable or unwilling to comply with the law and abide by the mandate of a court of competent jurisdiction.
The government’s failure or refusal to abide by the court’s mandate is now being seen as, among other things, an indication that the police and prosecutors might still be searching for the evidence against the accused.
Amid all of this, justice scott’s family and friends, last week, termed the whole case and the attitude of state prosecutors as a mere political witch hunt meant to violate and abuse people’s rights, and a complete scapegoating on the part of the government of Liberia.
Meanwhile, justice Scott’s legal team has filed a bill of information to criminal court ‘a’ against the state’s failure or refusal to abide by the court’s mandate contained in the ruling on Tuesday, July 4, 2023.
State prosecutors have instead filed a petition for a writ of certiorary before the supreme court against the ruling/mandate of criminal court ‘A’ Judge, Roosevelt Z. Willie, a further indication that the state is either unable or unwilling to abide by the mandate and present the material evidence to justice Scott’s legal.