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Court halts proceedings in Cummings’ trial

The Resident Circuit Judge of Criminal Court “A” at the Temple of Justice, Judge Roosevelt Z. Willie has placed a stay order on the ongoing forgery and criminal conspiracy trial of Mr. Alexander B. Cummings, the political leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC).

The judge has also cited the Monrovia City Court Magistrate Jomah Jallah who is presiding over the trial to a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 2.

Judge Willie issued the stay order and cited Magistrate Jallah on Friday, Jan. 28, after lawyers representing Mr. Cummings filed an action of Summary Proceedings against the Monrovia City Court Judge following his Wednesday, Jan. 26 ruling in the ongoing forgery trial.

The latter had ruled that Cummings and others produce the two original copies of the Collaboration Political Parties (CPP) framework document signed on May 19, 2020, within 72 hours.

But Judge Willie rule that all proceedings within the case be halted pending the outcome of the Wednesday hearing.

“By directive of his Honor Roosevelt Z. Willie, Resident Circuit Judge of Criminal Court “A” Temple of Justice, Monrovia, you are hereby cited in the judge’s chamber on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022, at 11.AM for a hearing of the Summary Proceedings file against you by Cllr. Abraham B. Sillah, Sr. by and thru his clients Alexander B. Cummings and others to be identified. Meanwhile, you are hereby ordered to stay all proceedings pending the outcome of the hearing.”

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Lawyers representing Cummings are arguing that the Magistrate ruling granting prosecution motion for Mr. Cummings to produce evidence for the state doesn’t only violate the constitution but sets a bad precedence.

They further argued that Article 21(h) of the 1986 Constitution provides in part that a defendant (in a criminal trial) shall not be compelled to furnish evidence against himself.

They assert that the judge in his ruling relied on a 1972 criminal procedure law that predates the Constitution and even used Canadian law which does not apply to Liberia’s jurisdiction.

“Imagine, an outdated Canadian law, when our law is clear on this issue. We strongly disagree with the Magistrate’s ruling and have asked the Circuit Court to review said unprecedented decision,” the Cummings team opined.  

But Magistrate Jallah maintained that his action has legal grounds because Article 21 (h) of the constitution does not hold, and submits that constitutional privilege against self-incrimination as provided for under Article 21 (h) of the Constitution does not apply to business records, public documents or political contracts that are normally executed in accordance with parties’ rules and regulations as they may see it fit.

Thus he ruled that the defendants produce, provide, bring and make available to the court, the two copies of the originally signed framework document within 72 hours.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/court-gives-cummings-72-hours/ By Othello Barnabas Garblah

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by the Searchlight Communications Inc. Office is located on The UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is a bilingual (both English & French).
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