By Melvin Jackson
MONROVIA: The normal court proceedings at the Criminal Court “A” at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia where subpoenaed witnesses, Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Tamba Koijee, Monrovia City Policer, Varlee Telleh and others were expected to appear were disrupted yesterday, Monday, 04 December 2023 when probations officers staged a protest, demanding delay in salaries and Judge Rooselvet Willie postponed the proceedings to Wednesday, December 6, 2023
By the action of the probations officers, Madam Gloria Musu Scott and other co-defendants could not arrive in court as they were stopped from leaving the prison premises.
Judge Willie had issued a writ of subpoena Duces’ Tecum ad Testificandum on Monrovia City Mayor, Jefferson Koijee to appear in court with Monrovia City Police Officer Varlee Telleh to testify to his telephone number(s) used between February 21st to the 25th of this year.
The subpoena was issued based on a submission made by defense counsel on Thursday, November 30, 2023 to Judge Willie for Major Koijee to come to court for his employee, Varlee Telleh, to testify as to whom he called on February 21st and February 25th of this year.
The court also issued a subpoena on Orange GSM Company to produce the call log for the number 0777142133 and also track the phone and its user.
Judge Willie further issued a subpoena on Orange GSM number 0776011-848, Lone star GSM numbers 0886529330 and 0880898722 on grounds that the court wants the communication companies to state who is using the said numbers, which were being used and owned by co-defendant Scott.
LoneStar and Orange GSM Companies along with Monrovia City Mayor, Jefferson Koijee were expected to appear in open court on Monday, December 4, 2023 at 10 O’clock AM to testify in the ongoing murder case involving former Chief Justice Scott and three of her relatives.
Although our correspondent said he did not see representatives of the GSM companies, but Koijee who appeared in court with Telleh could not testify against the backdrop that officers of the Monrovia Central Prison Correction office, including the entire administration of the prison compound prevented the intake of prison and the outgoing of prison to attend various courts proceedings at the temple of justice, a situation which thwarted the hearing of the proceedings on, yesterday, the assigned date.
During yesterday’s hearing at Criminal Court “A” where subpoenaed witness Varlee Telleh and others were present, correction officers informed the court that they were neither accepting nor allowing anyone to enter or exit the prison as a result of their protest.
Accordingly, Judge Roosevelt Willie said, “The representations of the parties are hereby noted and the Court also notes the report of the Sheriff with respect of the absence of the defendants and the trial jurors. The trial judge informed the parties and subpoenaed persons that “we receive a report from the Monrovia Central Prison where the prison authorities have informed the Court that they are not accepting any prisoner in the Court nor are they allowing any inmates to get out.”
The correction officers told the Court through their director Varney Lake that the prison workers were supposed to receive money that they did not receive, and therefore they will not allow any inmate to go to prison or come out until they can receive that money.
Judge Willie continues as saying, “When we receive this information, we called the Minister of Justice to inform him about the situation and how serious it is, because this is the second time it has occurred and this case is supposed to expeditiously be handled and completed forthwith.”
The Criminal Court “A” Judge further revealed that the Justice Minister informed the Court through that they will handle everything possible, noting that the above explanations gave reasons why the proceedings were not resumed and this is the reason the defendants were not seen in court, neither were the trial jurors present.
Judge Willie, said since the court does not know when they will solve this problem, he does not want to reschedule this case for tomorrow, but rather for Wednesday, December 6, 2023, at 9:45am prompt.
“So if you have subpoenaed witnesses that were mandated to appear here today, we want to inform you also that this rescheduled is also to inform you that it is the information that we want to provide for the reschedule.”
Judge Willie maintained that by law the parties, including the prosecution and the defense – are required to be present at any stage of the hearing in such a criminal trial, a reason for which he said the court could not proceed with the trial yesterday.
The Monrovia Central Prison built with the capacity of 400 person overlooks the Atlantic Ocean.