Court Denies Request to Subpoena Koijee, Others -As Defense Wants Decision Reviewed

MONROVIA: Criminal court A” Judge Roosevelt Willie yesterday, Wednesday, December 6, 2023 denied the request by defense lawyers to subpoena Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee and two others   to appear and testify in the ongoing Cherloe Musu murder  trial at the Temple of Justice,  calling the application for the subpoenas as “fishing expedition;” a decision that made the defense counsels to take an exception and filed a writ of certiorari before the Supreme Court of Liberia for the high court to review the ruling of the Criminal Court “A” judge into their motion.

The motion requesting the Criminal Court “A” to subpoena Mayor Koijee was made after the testimonies of Monrovia City Police Commander Varlee Telleh to his telephone numbers for which he was subpoenaed by the Court.

In his testimonies, Witness Telleh admitted that he has two GSM numbers which he read on records to be 0778371222 and 0880260385. Witness Telleh when quizzed by defense lawyers to know whether he has other cell phone numbers said the rest of the numbers he has are for his wife and his children.

“Mr. Witness, aside from the numbers you have stated on the records of this court do you have any other number?” the defense lawyers quizzed him, to which he responded “Yes, I have two numbers. I bought them for my children [and] up to now I have not reached home, yet I still have the number and one for my wife.”

According to Witness Telleh, “I can remember my wife’s number; but for the two [numbers] for my children, I have not copied that number….  My children numbers are LoneStar and Orange and all are registered in my name,” he explained

The Defense lawyers made attempts to have Telleh testified to his statement made to police during his investigation by the LNP from which he was cleared of all charges regarding the murder of Charloe Musu, but the prosecution prevented barrage of objections which were sustained by Judge Willie who said the witness was subpoenaed to be called to the court to testify to his telephone numbers.

“This witness is a subpoenaed witness based on a telephone number that was given to the court,” the judge said, noting, “so this witness is not on trial…”

It was after this examination of Witness Telleh that defense lawyers commenced with their application, adding, “At this stage, one of the counsel for defendants prays for a subpoena ad testificandum to be issued on the wife of Varlee Telleh, believed to be using Cell number 0776632470 to testify to a call made to number 112001407, on February 22, at the hour of 7:00pm”

The Defense Counsel also prayed court for a subpoena ad testificandum to be issued on Moses Wright, owner of number 112001407, one of the securities of Cllr. Gloria Scott to testify to a call made on February 21, 2023 to the same number 112001407 that was called on February 22 by the wife of Moses Wright, while at the same time requesting for Subpoena duces tecum to be served on  Orange to provide the call log  of Moses Wright  and the wife of  Varlee Telleh  for the period of February 20, 2023 to February 24, 2023.

Additionally, the Defense counsel further prayed to subpoena Mayor Jefferson Koijee to go to court to testify in the proceeding as it relates to allegations made against him by Cllr. Jerome Verdier and further prayed for subpoena duces tecum to the issue of numbers owned by Mayor Koijee which were read to be 0776407696 and 0886407696, and requested the court for additional subpoena duces tecum to be issued on Orange GSM Company to produce of Honorable and that of one Mohammed Kieta.

To these applications, prosecution issued a three-point resistance in which the State lawyers argued that testimonies of defendants in the dock to the murder charges made reference without particularity, materiality and specificity as to any participation or involvement of  the purported individuals , saying that the same should be set aside and denied by the court.

In its ruling, the  Court having listened to the defense application and resistance thereto by State Lawyers denied the defendants motion, saying the application was made before the testimonies of Witness Telleh  who had testified in court and agreed that the application is not specific; neither does it present any evidence upon which the individuals should be subpoenaed.

However, in his ruling, Judge Willie said the defense had not shown the court any documentary evidence or by witness testimony that Mohammed Keita with whom Koijee communicated was part and parcel of the case.

The judge further ruled that because the wife of Varlee Telleh communicated with someone is not sufficient to bring her to court to testify, adding that the defense counselor’s application is not specific and particular as to her connection to the case involving Koijee for which he should be subpoenaed.

“It is not specific because the defense counsel has not presented to this court physical or documentary evidence [concerning] the call between Telleh’s wife and the person who is named,” judge Willie added.

In Judge Willie’s mind, “the defense is on a fishing expedition” as the court continuously said that the defense has the number that was testified to and even has the number according to them of Mayor Koijee..

In order to have physical evidence is to Subpoena from the GSM Company or the physical evidence that Mohammed Kieta was present n

“But to invite those individuals here without evidence to show means those individuals are coming here to testify against themselves”, which he said the law does not allow.

In resistance to His Honor’s ruling, the defense lawyers have taken Judge Willie on a writ of Certiorari at the Supreme Court of Liberia for denying their Petition to have Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee and others testify in the ongoing murder case.

In a 10-count petition the defense lawyers  say, the Civil Procedure Law, Section 16.21.1 provides “certiorari is a special proceeding to review and correct decisions of officials, boards, or agencies acting in a judicial capacity, or to review an intermediate order or interlocutory judgment of a court”.

The defense lawyers also quoted their reliance in Civil Procedure Law, Section 13.4 which provides, “where the person to be examined is not a party or a person who at the time of taking the deposition is an officer, director, member, or employee of a party, he shall be served with a subpoena.

They added that unless the Court orders otherwise, such subpoena must be served at least ten days before the examination. “Proof of service of a notice to take a deposition as provided in section 13.3(3) or (4) constitutes a sufficient authorization for issuance by the clerk of the court of a subpoena on the persons named or described therein and for production by them of designated books, papers, and portable things as authorized in section 13.5.” the defense lawyers continue.

The Petitioners say, a staff of the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC), Varlee Telleh was subpoenaed to testify to numbers submitted by him to the Liberia National Police (LNP) during the criminal investigation regarding the murder of Charloe Musu; and while on the witness stand,  he  testified that the mobile number (0778)-371-222 is being used by him, and the mobile number (0776)-632-470 is registered in his name, but managed or is used by his wife.

Petitioners further say, based upon witness Telleh’s testimony that the mobile number (0776)-632- 470 is being used by his wife, Petitioners prayed court to have the wife of witness Telleh subpoenaed to testify to the mentioned number, and particularly to a call made to cell number 112001407 between the period February 20, 2023 to February 24, 2023, and relationship between Mrs. Telleh and the person to whom the calls were made.

Accordingly, the defense lawyers said their request is predicated upon the call log submitted, to which Witness Telleh said it is the  prosecution which showed s that the number called by the number 112001407  is being used by his wife, Mrs. Telleh, pointing out that they also had calls interaction  with Moses Wright on February  21. 2023, the eve of the day Charloe was murder.

Petitioners say, the Orange GSM company was also subpoenaed to produce the call logs of Moses Wright and the wife of Varlee Telleh who is believed to be the owner of mobile

Number (0776)-632-470 for the period February 20, 2023 to February 24, 2023.

The defendants lawyers said that the Criminal Court “A” Judge, Roosevelt   Willie, also denied the application of Petitioner and says that the subpoena is not specific.

But the defendants noted that the denial of their application for the subpoenas by Judge Roosevelt Z. Willie deprives Petitioners/Defendants of the opportunity to adequate representation, and the right to proffer evidence on their behalf.

Meanwhile, the defense lawyers have said the petition for a Writ of Certiorari will review and correct the error made by the Respondents Judge herein, while praying that the Supreme Court issues a Writ of Certiorari directing the Respondent Judge Willie s to grant the application to have the named individuals subpoena to testify, and the mentioned call logs be subpoenaed.

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