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Cases overwhelm prosecutors

Prosecutors in Monrovia say they have several cases before the Grand Jury for Montserrado County, and the just-ended Ebola calamity in Liberia has resulted to their failure to indict two defendants arrested and charged since April 2013.

On Wednesday, 5 August, they unsuccessfully struggled to convince Presiding Criminal Court “C” Judge Peter W. Gbeneweleh to give them more time to indict defendants Kelvin B. Sanvee and Ricks Wilson for theft of property, forgery, criminal facilitation and criminal conspiracy.

Montserrado County Attorney Darku Mulbah, complained of the workload in the face of huge population and number of cases the county has to deal with, arguing that it would be of public interest for the prosecution to give preference to armed robbery, rape and murder cases rather than a “theft of property” case before the grand jury.

But Judge Gbeneweleh has dismissed prosecution’s excuses of Ebola in Liberia and the contention of having many cases to go to grand jury as no “legal justification” for not indicting the movants consistent with Section 18.2 of the statue.

In resistance to defense counsels’ motion to dismiss a complaint against their clients owing to the State’s failure to indict them, prosecuting lawyers strongly pleaded Wednesday, 5 August that they were already in the process of indicting the accused immediately after the opening of the next court term, which is expected next Monday, August 10.

But the court dismissed the complaint, having disagreed with prosecutors’ excuses of having several cases to contend with and the issue of Ebola that wrecked Liberia in 2014, saying they were not justification.

At the time the Monrovia City Court arrested, charged defendants Sanvee and Wilson in April 2013 and subsequently transferred them to the Criminal Court “C”, Judge Gbeneweleh said there was no outbreak of Ebola in Liberia.

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He further said the Legislature never contemplated that Montserrado County alone should have more than one grand jury unlike other counties in response to prosecutors’ contention of having many cases to go to the grand jury in the populated county here.

As a matter of practice, a “special grand jury” could have indicted the defendants since they had not been indicted by the grand jury for the alleged offenses charged, but the court found that the prosecution did not follow such process.

The State says Montserrado, which is more populated than other counties in Liberia, has only one grand inquest like other counties do. Cllr. Mulbah had warned that the defendant would suffer if the court grants the motion to dismiss, and then be rearrested the next day after already losing their bail bonds. By Winston W. Parley

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