ANC Lawyers Accuse Prosecution of Removing Evidence -File Complaint for Prosecutorial Misconduct

MONROVIA : The long-running legal battle amongst the leadership of the Collaboration of Political Parties (CPP) seems to be taking a different turn, with defense lawyers representing leading opposition politician of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), Alexander Cummings, having on March 18, 202 filed a formal complaint to Stipendiary Magistrate Jomah Jallah of the Monrovia City Court, against the State/Prosecution, led by Solicitor General Seymah Serenius Cephus, for “Prosecutorial Misconduct.”

According to the complaint, Mr. Cummings’s lawyers have discovered during cross-examination of All Liberian Party (ALP) National Chairman, Theodore Momo, that state prosecutors, aided by ALP’s Political Leader Benoni Urey, have criminally extracted several pieces of evidence, establishing the innocence of, and exonerating, Mr. Cummings and his co-defendants, from WhatsApp messages exported from Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) National Advisory Committee (NAC) chatroom they presented to the court and Mr. Cummings lawyers as a part of discovery records submission.

“The intentional omission of any piece of evidence that speaks to the innocence of the accused amounts to misconduct on the part of the prosecution. In all criminal matters, the State / Prosecution is duty bound or has a legal obligation to submit to the accused all the species of evidence the State has in its possession related to the allegations, and this includes evidence of inculpatory and exculpatory nature,” the ANC complaint stated.

In its submission, the ANC said the state’s obligation is constitutional under the due process clause. Citing the famous case, Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) in which the United States Supreme Court ruled that the prosecution has a constitutional duty of due process to disclose material evidence favorable to a defendant, the defense team of the ANC said, any attempt by the prosecution to intentionally omit any piece of evidence that is of an exculpatory nature or that seeks to exonerate the accused amounts to a material misconduct or ethical transgression.

According to the defense’s argument, Rule 7 of the Rules of Moral and Ethical Conduct governing the behavior of lawyers in Liberia, forbids lawyers from suppressing and secreting information and evidence capable of proving the innocence of a defendant. “The ANC says, Cephus and team’s conduct is grossly unethical and criminally unprofessional. Rule 7 states: “The primary duty of the lawyer engaged in public prosecution is not to convict, but to see that justice is done. The suppression of facts or the secreting of witnesses capable of establishing the innocence of the accused is highly reprehensible and utterly unprofessional,” the defense team stated categorically, therefore requesting that Judge Jomah Jallah launches a full-scale investigation, and bring sanctions on Cllr. Cephus (and team) where appropriate.

In addition, the defense lawyers have requested that the judge requires Cllr. Cephus and prosecution lawyer to formally submit the omitted pages from the CPP NAC chatroom, favorable to and capable of exonerating Mr. Cummings and co-defendants.

SG Cephas Responds

Responding to the Defense Team summation, the Office of the Solicitor-General has described as “absolutely shameful”, but not surprising, a rather willful and deliberate misinformation campaign contained in a press statement purportedly written and signed by a certain Jonathan Dolakeh said to be the Deputy Secretary General of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), accusing state prosecutors lead by the Solicitor-General, Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus of alleged “prosecutorial misconduct.”

Comments are closed.