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Crime & PunishmentGeneralLiberia news

Chamber Justice denies state’s request for writ of certiorari

-As Court "A" resumes hearing in Cllr. Scott’s case Friday

By Lincoln G. Peters

Justice in chamber, Associate Justice Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay, Sr. on Wednesday, July 12, 2023, denied the writ of certiorari prayed for by prosecution in the ongoing murder case involving former Chief Justice Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott and three of her family members. 

In Latin, certiorari means “to be made certain.” In English law, legal documents (called writs) which instruct a court to have a case reviewed by a higher court traditionally began with the phrase Certiorari volumus, or “We wish to be made certain.” Anyone who isn’t satisfied with the outcome of a legal case can appeal to the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari, although it’s extremely rare to get one.

The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Justice on July 6, 2023, filed a petition before the Justice in Chambers, Justice Yammie Quiqui Gbeisay.

The petition from the prosecutors came a day after the deadline (July 5, 2023) given to them to produce all pieces of evidence against the defendants expired.

“Petitioner in the above entitle case of action petition Your Honor and this court for the issuance of a Writ of Certiorari against Judge Roosevelt Z. Willie of Criminal Court ‘A’ who has processed irregularly and strangely in ordering the government to present all evidentiary materials to the lawyers representing Cllr. Scott and others far in advance of the commencement of the trial in the case and should be stopped from proceeding,” it said.

In the government’s petition, it was revealed that Cllr. Scott and others were investigated and charged, arrested and indicted by a special Grand Jury for Montserrado County at the close of the May A.D. 2023 Term of Court.

The petition furthered that the ex-Chief Justice and others were indicted for the commission of the crimes of Murder, Criminal Conspiracy and False Reports to Law Enforcement Officer and were arrested and are currently in detention at the Monrovia Central Prison, awaiting trial.

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But, making determination on the matter, Associate Justice Gbeisay declined the writ as prayed for by the prosecution on grounds that it lacks legal basis and ordered the judge to resume jurisdiction of the matter.

“By directive of his Honour, Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay, Sr., Associate Justice presiding in Chambers, you are hereby mandated to resume jurisdiction and proceed to enforce the ruling on the motion. The Justice has, therefore, declined to issue the writ prayed for by the petitioner”, Associate Justice Gbeisay urged. 

Meanwhile, the defense team for Cllr. Scott has received a notice of assignment from the Judge of Criminal Court A for all parties to appear to hear the reading of the Chamber Justice’s mandate.

According to our legal correspondent, the interpretation of this action on the part of the chamber justice, the swift denial ruling helps to strengthen the argument of the defense team and yet another step to justice. 

The legal team for the former chief justice family has continuously requested the state to bring forth the evidence the state claims to have in its possession to bring charges of murder on the family after the egregious and fatal bodily injury leading to the death of Charloe Musu.

Legal pundits further averred that it might be too early for the government lawyers to begin to question the theory or foundation of their case it might also be too early to question the credibility of the police and their ability to put together a cogent body of evidence to secure a conviction.

The defense team appeared in a more buoyant mood along with the appearance of the former chief justice who is making an appearance pro se in her own defense and that of her family members. All four women accused women were brought in from the correctional center aka South Beach.

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