Cummings’ Lawyers Reply Ministry Of Justice On Bill Of Information -Say SG Cephus ‘Continues To Lie’

The lawyers representing Mr. Alexander B. Cummings, Political Leader and Standard Bearer of the Alternative National Congress have said their attention have been drawn to a press release issued by the Solicitor General of the Ministry of Justice, Republic of Liberia, (‘’Monrovia, Liberia 31 March, 2022’’) stating that the Republic of Liberia filed with the Monrovia City Court (‘’City Court’’) a Bill of Information (BoI), demanding Co-defendant Alexander B. Cummings to present to the court  ”photocopies of his  ticket(s)  to and from America; flight number and name, from Liberia-Ghana; and from Ghana-United States;  and United States to Liberia, if any;  the date of departure to  United States  and date of return; and a photocopy of  his  current Liberian passport with an American visa inside’’. (Emphasis ours)

In a press statement issued last evening by the lawyers and signed by their lead counsel, Cllr. Abraham Sillah Sr stated that in response to the referenced publication reportedly emanating from the Solicitor General of the Republic of Liberia, that they, Heritage Partners and Associates, Inc., (HPA), as legal counsels for Mr. Alexander B. Cumming, are constrained to clarify the issues in order to set the records straight.

“Liberian law provides a defendant in a criminal proceedings the right of brief voluntary absence, which may be exercised without any specified condition. Section 2.4(2) of the Criminal Procedure Law of Liberia states for the records:

  1. ‘’Effect of brief voluntary absence of defendant on continuance of trial. In prosecutions for non-capital offenses, the defendant’s brief voluntary absence after the trial has commenced in his presence and during any period up to and including the return of the verdict, when not prejudicial to the rights of the defendant, shall not prevent continuing the trial; nor shall it be grounds for a new trial or reversal on appeal if such absence was not brought to the attention of the trial court until after the return of the verdict’’. (Emphasis added.)

The statement further said the law and facts are clear in this matter, and Mr. Cummings is not obliged to provide information post travel, and will not join in any argument without legal basis. The fact of the matter is that Co-defendant Alexander Cummings invoked his right and applied to the court for brief voluntary absence and the court granted the application based on the law against the Solicitor General’s frivolous resistance.

“Specifically, the Solicitor General resisted Mr. Cummings application and requested the Stipendiary Magistrate of the Monrovia City Court (City Court), His Honor Jomah S. Jallah, to order Mr. Cummings to state his (i) date of travel and name of the airline (Flight), ticket Number, (iii) place of travel and duration, and (iv) date of return and airline. Admittedly, the Solicitor General’s resistance did not include an order for Mr. Cummings to produce ‘’a photocopy of  his  current Liberian passport with an American visa inside’’. As stated, Magistrate Jallah denied the resistance and granted Mr. Cummings application for brief voluntary absence on continuance of the trial because the law does not require a defendant in a criminal proceeding to produce those information requested by the Solicitor General as condition precedent for exercise of his right under Section 2.4(2) of the cited hereinabove”, the statement said.

The statement further said that notwithstanding the clear language of the law, the Solicitor General, out of vexation, prejudice and personal vendetta against Mr. Cummings, sought review of Magistrate Jallah’s ruling before the First Judicial Circuit, Criminal Assizes ‘’A’’, and His Honor Rooselvet Z. Willie issued an order and stayed all proceedings in the matter pending a hearing of the parties.

“Nonetheless the illegality of the Solicitor General’s resistance and application for summary proceeding, Mr. Cummings defense team accepted to provide and did provide the Solicitor General all the pieces of information requested in his resistance and his application to Judge Willie. The pieces of information were contained in a letter dated March 11, 2022, addressed and delivered to the office of the Solicitor General, Ministry of Justice, which he acknowledged and attached to his bill of information. It was pursuant to Mr. Cummings provision of the above-mentioned pieces of information to Judge Willie and the Solicitor General that Judge Willie rescinded and revoked his March 11, 2022 order, and further mandated Magistrate Jallah to (i) resume jurisdiction over the matter, and (ii) revoke the Ne Exit Republica prayed for by the Solicitor General and issued by Magistrate Jallah to prevent Mr. Cummings from traveling the next day, March 12, 2022. Magistrate Jallah immediately revoked the Ne Exit Republica and restored Mr. Cummings right to travel in consonance with his (Jallah) ruling, and Mr. Cummings did travel and return to the country”, the lawyers said in their statement.

The statement further said that it is very astonishing that the Solicitor General would file a bill of information requesting the same pieces of information provided him, and requesting additional information that was not included in his resistance before Magistrate Jallah and/or in his application seeking a review of Magistrate Jallah’s ruling.

The lawyers said they would like to clarify that at no time did Mr. Cummings’ defense team agree to provide the court and/or the Solicitor General ‘’a photocopy of his current Liberian passport with an American visa inside’’. The defense could not have done so because that specific request was not in his resistance made in open court before Magistrate Jallah, neither was it in his application seeking a review of Magistrate Jallah’s ruling. Therefore, it was not a subject of any discussion between the parties.

“It is, however, not surprising that the Solicitor General would file a frivolous bill of information. The bill of information is frivolous because the matter is moot; it is moot for reason that Mr. Cummings traveled to the United States of America (USA) on the orders of the court, and returned to the country in keeping with the court’s order. What then is the necessity of producing ‘’a photocopy of his current Liberian passport with an American visa inside’’? How does ‘’a photocopy of his current Liberian passport with an American visa inside’’ impact or affect the outcome of the ongoing trial, or determine his guilt or innocence? What is the relevance of this information?”. the statement said.

“The only object of the Solicitor General’s press release is to cover up his shameful admission that he and the prosecution team committed prosecutorial misconduct by intentionally omitting material pieces of exculpatory evidence from the documents submitted to the Court and subsequently presented to the defense team on discovery. The court’s records of Wednesday, March 30, 2022 are evidence of this embarrassing admission, and in order to white wash the situation, or put up a brave face on such shameful experience, the Solicitor General had to resort to the publication of an empty press release, of that public attention will not focus on the misconduct, but photocopy of Mr. Cummings’ passport ‘’with an American visa inside’’, the statement concluded.

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