Cummings Lawyers Rejects Cross Examination -Say State Only Requested For Production of Document

MONROVIA – Defense lawyers representing the political leader and standard bearer of the Alternative National Congress(ANC) Mr. Alexander B. Cummings and the two other co-defendants, Senator Daniel Naatehn and Atty Aloysius Toe have rejected the application of the prosecution for the court to declare Mr. Cummings as a hostile witness which will enable the prosecution to cross examine them in the ongoing forgery and criminal conspiracy brought against them by Mr. Benoni Wilfred Urey, political leader of the All Liberia Party(ALP).

The lawyers, Cllr Abraham Sillah and Atty Lafeyette Gould who raised their objection yesterday, Monday, February 21, 2022 at the premises at the Monrovia City Court opposing the prosecution’s latest request, said that their client honored the court’s appointment yesterday with the view of going through the legal proceedings but the prosecution according to them decided to strangely introduce some delay tactics by requesting the accused to be cross examined.

“Firstly, the witnesses that appear today, Mr. Cummings, Mr. Naatehn and that of Mr. Aloysius Toe are subpoena witnesses. The application made by the government is for these accused persons are to appear and produce two copies of the original signed CPP document of May 19, 2020”

Providing the basis for their rejection of the prosecution’s request, Cllr. Sillah speaking on behalf of the defense team said under the laws, there are two kinds of subpoena, the Subpoena Duces Tecum which requires someone to produce documents, books, etc but does not require you to testify while the Subpoena ad Testificandum which requires you to testify.

“Under section 17.3 of the criminal procedure laws of Liberia, it says that you may subpoena somebody to produce a document or testify or to do both, that is to produce the document and testify. The prosecution’s written application for the court clearly stated that the defendants should produce two copies of the original CPP framework documents of May 19, 2020, The subpoena is Duces Tecum and not ad Testificandum”, he said

He said that when his clients complied to turn up for the appointment, the Solicitor General, Cllr. Saymah Syrenius Cephas strangely took the stand and told the court that the defendants should produce the documents, testify, confirm and reconfirm the document which was contrary to the laws but thankfully according to him, the Judge ruled in their interest and restricted the proceedings to only the production of the documents.

Cllr. Sillah re-echoed his stand against the status of the original framework document being requested by the prosecution. “Now, does the document exist and I continue to say repeatedly that the documents that are requested and specifically the mentioned in the prosecution document, those two documents or two copies, these do not exist or ever existed and not in the real world, they only exist in the imagination of the prosecution who are trying to fish out documents that never existed. So on the basis of that, we move to the next stage. Mr. Cummings just took the witness stand and clearly stated that the documents don’t exist”

He said with all that was glaring, the prosecution still wants the subpoena witness who is clearly restricted  to produce documents to be declared a hostile so he will be cross examined and interrogated which according to him is a strange practice because under Duces Tecum, a witness is only restricted to produce documents. He said under section 25.19 of the civil laws, there are legal requirements to declare a witness hostile such as giving contradictory statements, lack of respect for authority, not being cooperative, etc, but on the contrary, Cummings did not exhibit any of what should constitute some to be declared a hostile witness.

Atty Gould who also supported Cllr Sillah took a swipe at Cllr. Cephas stated that the prosecution is employing all kinds of tricks to delay the process. “Cephas does what he does best. He is in the theatre, he is not on substantive issues, all of the applications are just intended to delay the trial, because it is now persecution and not prosecution. He is saying things outside the pillar of the laws.

For his part, Cllr Cephas said that Mr. Cummings has to be cross-examined and asked several questions to explain his whole role in the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) especially how he became Chairman if the party does not have any framework document. He said he has up to 76 questions to ask Cummings when he takes the witness stand.

Meanwhile, Mr. Cummings reiterated his stand that the May 19, 2020 original framework document as requested by the prosecution does not exist when he appeared in court yesterday, Monday, February 21, 2021 as a subpoena witness in the ongoing case against him and his co-defenders.

The Judge Cllr. Jomah Jallah has reserved ruling for Wednesday, February 23, 2022 to determine whether to uphold the request by prosecution for Cummings and others to be declared as general witnesses or reject the request and accept the defense’s prayers.

Comments are closed.