Court Acquits Bility, Martin Kollah of Criminal Charges

The Monrovia City Court has with immediate effect dismissed the multiple charges of forgery, criminal facilitation and criminal conspiracy brought against Liberty Party embattled Chairman Musa H. Bility and Secretary General Martin S. Kollah.

Magistrate Jomah Jallah of the Monrovia City Court, making his ruling Thursday, February 10, 2022, ruled that the two Liberty Party stalwarts were set free and  their rights restored because the complainants in persons of Jeremy Russel, Romeo Coker and Napoleon H. Weah have  no legal standing or capacity to take action in the Liberty Party’s interest.

According to the Court’s ruling on the defendants/movants’ motion to dismiss the case, Judge Jallah noted that Musa Hassan Bility, National Chairman of the Liberty Party and Martin S. Kollah, Secretary— General were arrested on charges of forgery, criminal conspiracy and criminal facilitation based on a complaint brought before this Court by the Republic of Liberia by and thru Jeremy Russel, Romeo Coker and Napolen H. Weah also  of the Liberty Party (LP) consistent with Criminal Procedure Law Title 2, Liberian Code of Law Revised, Chapter-1O, Sub-Section 10.6 (b) which vest in the Magisterial Court the Power and Authority to issue arrest warrant if this court examines the complaint to any individual under oath and deems it to be in and correct.

“The Defendants having been arrested duly filed with this Court through their Legal Counsel a Criminal Appearance Bond to ensure their appearance before this court at all time during pendency of this cause of action and they were subsequently released after their bonds were critically reviewed and examined by this Court and approved as in keeping with law.

However, exactly two days after being released on bail the Defendants through their legal counsel filed with this Court a six count motion to dismiss charges against them relying specifically on Section 11.2 (e) of the Civil Procedure Law, Title 1, Liberia Code of Law Revised regarding the legal capacity or legal standing of the Private Prosecutors who brought this complaint sue, which was however later modified and augmented at the commencement of the trial on February 8, 2022 with the addition of Section 16.7 of the Criminal Procedure Law, Title 2 of the Liberia Code of Law Revised, substantively alleging objections and defects in the prosecution’s charges against the said same Defendants as grounds for the dismissal of the action.

“In the mind of this court, the phrase of “…of the complainant refers to a person(s) making the complaint as the injured party and not the Republic of Liberia In the instant case, it seems quite inconceivable for this court to properly rationalize as to how the private prosecutors who are neither executive members of the Liberty Party nor legally designated representatives by proof of some legal instruments, have been directly injured by an alleged act of forgery, criminal conspiracy and criminal facilitation committed against the party’s constitution by two of its executive members. The court says the legislative intent of purpose of section 10.6 (b) of the Criminal Procedure Law places emphasis on the individual making or filing the complaint and not a peripheral character who may later assume the responsibility of trying or prosecuting   the case as it is with the prosecuting attorneys involved in this matter.  Who are these private prosecutors?  What are their roles, if any, and for whom and under what color of right are they bringing this action?  Neither the private prosecutors nor the Republic of Liberia has shown to this court its legal standing to bring this action for and on behalf of the Liberty Party. Therefore, the Lack of legal standing or capacity as shown herein in this cause of action is tantamount to a serious legal defect.  However, while it is true that the Movants raising the these objections to the defects in the charges against the defendants may not have been adept at finding and reciting the requisite legal citations and authorities to support and property address these objections and defects, this court is elated by the fact the Movants’ counsel led by Cllr. Arthur Johnson and former Solicitor-General, former Attorney-general and former Associate Justice of the Honorable Supreme Court of Liberia, Cllr. Lavala Supuwood, have shown some wits and substance to match the excellent legal gymnastics of the Honorable Solicitor-General both in character and depth,” Judge Jallah averred.

“In the mind of this court, the elementary definition of legal standing refers to a vested interest or a right in an action shown from injuries directly suffered or some vested interest or rights granted a party in a representative capacity by means of a legal instrument to prosecute an action. In the instant case, the act complained of by the Republic of Liberia by and through the private prosecutors is said to have been committed against the Liberty Party’s constitution.  From the records before this court, there is no showing that the Liberty Party which is said to have been injured directly as a consequence of the alleged conduct by the defendants has complained through its National Executive Committee or has executed a resolution authorizing a formal criminal action to be taken or brought be against defendants Musa Hassan Bility, and Martin Kollah for forgery, criminal conspiracy and criminal facilitation. However, what is before this court for determination is the complaint by some partisans of the Liberty Party accusing their own Chairman and the Secretary-general of forging and altering the Liberty Party’s constitution,” Judge Jallah opined.

Having listened keenly to the arguments from both prosecution and defense, Judge Jallah made a final determination to throw the case out of the court.

“Therefore, since the “making of complaint” is exclusively the role of an individual under Section 10.6(b) of the Criminal Procedure Law and is not the same as the arrest and subsequent trial of the defendant over which the prosecution has exclusive power, this court is unable to ignore the fact that Movants’ motion is directed at the “making of the complaint”–who are those making the complaint, and not who is or has authority to try the complaint for and on behalf of the private prosecutors.  With that clarification, this court is left with no other alternative but to grant Movants’ motion to dismiss, and hereby orders the allegations of forgery, criminal conspiracy and criminal facilitation against defendants Musa Hassan Bility, and Martin Kollah be denied and dismissed under Chapter 16, section 16.7 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Liberia and all legal citations appertaining thereto. Further, the clerk of this court is hereby ordered to return unto the defendants the criminal appearance bond filed with this court which was intended to ensure their day to day appearance during the pendency of this cause of action. AND IT IS HEREBY SO ORDERED, Matter SUSPENDED,” Judge Jallah declared.

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