Court Denies Urey’s Request For Televised Trial -As Prosecution Asks For Time to Produce Evidence

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The Monrovia City Court handling the ongoing alleged forgery and criminal conspiracy case filed by the political leader of the All Liberia Party(ALP), Mr. Benoni Urey against the Standard Bearer of the Alternative National Congress(ANC), Alexander B. Cummings and two of the ANC’s executives, Senator Daniel Natein and Atty Aloysius Toe, National Chairman and Secretary General respectively, has handed down its ruling denying the application for a televised trial and demanded that the prosecution provide within five days, all discovery materials requested by the Defense legal team headed by Cllr. Abraham Sillah..

Delivering the ruling on Wednesday, January 12, 2022, Judge Jomah Jallah, said consistent with rules 11 of the judiciary canon of the Liberia, it will be a reversible error by the court to grant the prosecution application to have the trial televised. He maintained that rule 11 of the judiciary canon of the Republic provides that it is unlawful for a judge to accept a loan or mortgage having no investment interest.

The judge said it was also improper for a judge to conduct a newspaper cordon or current news items and matters of general interest, stressing that at the same time it was inappropriate for a judge to permit live broadcast, the taking of photography in court during court proceedings.

The Solicitor General Cllr. Saymah Syrenius Cephus who led the prosecution team had made representation to the court praying that the court allows the proceedings to be televised live so that Liberians in and out of the country can be able to view the trial which according to him is due to the crucial nature of the case.

But in a swift resistance to the motion, the lead counsel to the defendants counsel Cllr. Abraham Sillah objected to the request on grounds that there is no law or procedures in the criminal court of Liberia to prescribe the ways or means a televised trial should be heard.

According to the Cllr. Sillah, there is no new law that calls for said televised process noting that it has never taken place in any criminal proceeding in a court and that it would further create unnecessarily spending on the part of government.

“The Legislature has not created any law for that, and the provision of the Constitution was wrongfully cited by the prosecuting lawyer,” Cllr. Sillah Maintained.

“The right to speedy trial is reserved for the defendant to ensure a speedy trial, but did not in any way provide for speedy trial to be televised,” Cllr. Sillah further explained.

Cllr. Sillah, then filed a motion delineating and requesting that all evidence in the Prosecutors’ possession, including WhatsApp messages and other exchanges, as well as their witnesses and their addresses, be turned over to the defense which  the Judge ruled in the Defense’ favor. However, SG Cephus acknowledged the legality of the request but prayed the court for more time beyond the statutory five days.

The Judge denied the request and ruled that in five days, the Prosecutors must provide their evidence.

The case was adjourned because the Prosecution was not prepared to proceed with the case.

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