Musu Scott, Others Apply For Bail Bond -But Court ‘A’ Assigns Hearing For Tuesday, July 4

MONROVIA: The Lawyers for detained former Chief Justice and three others have filed a motion for bail before his honor, Roosevelt Z. Willie and requested the Criminal Court “A” to grant bail to the four defendants accused of murder, criminal conspiracy and false reports to law enforcement officers.

“And now come,  movants, Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott, Ma Rebecca Youdeh Wisner, Gertrude Newton and Alice Johnson most respectfully praying this Honorable Court and Your Honor to grant the movants motion for bail for the following and legal reasons showeth the following to wit [that] the movants submit  say they are the defendants indicted by the state for the alleged commission of the crimes of  Murder, Criminal Conspiracy and Making False Statements to Law Enforcement Officers on June 23, 2023  following the issuance and arrest of the said Defendants on June 22, 2023 on a Magisterial Writ and committed to the common jail,” the  lawyers Motion for Bail  for the accused has said  in its first count.

The four defendants, Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott, Ma Rebecca Youdeh Wisner, Gertrude Newton and Alice Johnson, have been indicted and detained in connection to the death of Cllr. Scott’s daughter, Charloe Musu, a graduating senior of the Starz University in Monrovia who died from wounds of multiple time stabbing by an unknown assassin intruded in the residence of the former Chief Justice on April 22, 2023.  The accused persons were arrested, taken to court and indicted on the three charges and are now being detained at the Monrovia Central Prison.

In Count-2 of their Motion for Bail filed on June 27,2023 before the Criminal Court “A”, the defense lawyers in a seven-count indictment cited the Criminal Procedure Law Chapter 1, Section 13.1 Captioned Right to Bail  under which it is provided that all crimes are bailable , especially when proof is not evident  and the presumption is not great saying that in this instance case, before your honor,  the indictment on its very face  and contents demonstrates that the proof  is not evident and presumption not great.

“For instance, the indictment charged the defendants for the alleged commission of Murder collectively, the very indictment further alleged ‘that an instrument believed to be a knife’ was used but did not succinctly say as to who was the actual person amongst the four (4) defendants that committed the Murder.  Besides the defense cited the Criminal Procedure Law, the defense lawyers said our Civil Procedure Law , Title 1, LCLR offers provisional remedies  in Chapter 7, Subchapter C, Arrest  Section 7.45. Release because of privileged or lack of grounds and Section 7.46 Bail, release from custody,” the motion for Bail further informed the Court.

Further to Count two, of the movants’ motion, the motion further said the state having failed and or refused to precisely indicate as to who particularly committed the murder, it is sufficient to trigger the provision of Chapter 13.1 of our Criminal Code here above, thus releasing the defendants on the strength of said provision pending the disposition of the trial.

“Where it is uncertain whether the accused is innocent or guilty,  – in order words where, upon an examination of testimony, the presumption of guilt is not strong, the court will exercise its discretionary powers and admit to bail; and it is particularly called upon to bail all cases where the presumptions are decidedly in favor of the innocence of the accused,” the defense lawyers said in the motion citing reliance including Coleman v RL [1942] LRSC 12; 8LLR 56 (1942)(8 May 1942).

The defense further  stated that that Co-defendant Gloria Musu Scott, former Chief Justice of the Republic of Liberia, former Attorney General for the Republic of Liberia and former Senator of Maryland County of the Republic of Liberia  is qualified under the Criminal Code cited here above and also qualified considering the facts and circumstances of the case to personal recognizance   as she is not at fly risk from the Republic  and that she alone with the other co-defendants  will be in court whenever needed from the commencement to the logical conclusion of this matter.

“Movants/defendants add and submit that the primary purposes of bail in a criminal case are to relieve the accused from imprisonment, to relieve the state of the burden of keeping the accused pending trial and at the same time to keep the accused constructively in the custody of the court, whether before or after conviction, to ensure that he or she will submit to the jurisdiction of the court and to be in attendance thereon whenever he/she/their attendance is required, the motion accentuated, as reliance citing  “Zuo v Morris et al[1994] LRSC 32; 37 LLR 604”.

The motion indicated that obviously the movants/defendants have been cooperative in the proceedings beginning with police investigation with over 10 appearances   at the LNP National Headquarters up to current, and maintained that they have been invited to the police station multiple times and have never failed to attend, adding that hence they should be admitted to bail under these circumstances.

 

The defendants further quoted the Black Law Dictionary (9th edition) as saying that “personal recognizance is a principle which allows the release of a defendant in a criminal case in which the court takes the defendant’s word that he or she will appear for a scheduled matter or when told to appear” adding that the organic law of the land, (the 1986 Constitution of Liberia) under Article 21 (d)(i)  therefore states that all accused  shall be bailable upon their personal recognizance  …”

Notwithstanding the other phrases of the cited provision, “…unless charged for capital offenses or grave offenses as defined by law, it also does not preclude a court of law from exercising its inherent authority to grant bail to one charged with grave offences.

The defense noted that the Supreme Court in a unanimous opinion held that “…unless the right to bail before trial is preserved, presumption of innocence would lose its meaning” citing also Addo-Mills v Thorpe at al as recorded in 24LLR 27 (1975).

“This Honorable Court is respectfully urged to firmly keep in mind  that the Liberian criminal justice system is founded on the principle of “presumption of innocence”, that the Liberian Constitution (1986)  is forceful inn its commanding of in its articulation inter alia in Article 21(h)   that “… In all criminal cases, the accused shall have the right to be represented by counsel of her choice. …shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved beyond a reasonable doubt,” the defendants’ counsel stated with emphasis.

Additionally, the defense counsel submitted to the court and said Co-defendant Rebecca Youdeh Wisner who is aged and feeble and always in need of medical aid   as well as assistant in terms of movement, and also Co-defendant Scott who is hypertensive and indeed of regular monitoring due to the sensitive nature of the ailment should be granted the request as submitted.

Signed by Atty. N. Dickson R. Tamba and Atty. Samuel Kofi Woods, The defendants’ counsels wherefore and in view of the foregoing attending the peculiar factual circumstances and legal reasons pray the court for a judgment granting movants a bail.

The further requested that the court to grant the bail to defendants under the attending facts and circumstances  and by parity of legal reasoning, coupled with the spirit and intent of the statute, because  proof is not evident  and presumption is not great.

The movants/defendants’ lawyers have moved that court to order for their clients release on ground of the aforesaid statute and laws controlling, adding that ‘grant unto Movants/Defendants any other relief that will be fair, just and legal.

Meanwhile The Court has issued a notice of assignment of the hearing into the defendants’ motion for bail on Tuesday, 4th July 2023.

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