There was drama at the ongoing trial of former Chief Justice Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott and three family members on Monday at Criminal Court “A” when presiding Judge Roosevelt of criminal ordered the sheriff to take the defendants out of the courtroom before holding a sidebar conversation with both prosecution and defense lawyers.
Judge Willie’s action followed reports of attempted juror tampering by a senior member of the prosecution team.
After the brief sidebar conversation, Judge Willie summoned the parties into his chambers, where reports of state prosecution attempts to tamper with the jurors were discussed, according to information filtering from the judge’s chambers.
Heated arguments were heard as both teams walked into the hallway and outside in the open. Our judicial correspondent gathered that the judge has conducted an investigation for which all the parties are concerned.
In the meantime, the trial is expected to resume at a date and time upon the notice of the clerk of court.
However, some senior lawyers were heard proffering various views as to the continuation of the trial given the potential gravity of what was being discussed as jury tampering.
There are those who see the issue of jurors being disbanded and hence the end of the case or a mistrial or the matter being taken up in certiorari for which the chambers of justice and subsequently the full bench taking seize of the investigation.
Our reporter further gathered that some officials of the Ministry of Justice visited the area where jurors are being sequestered late at night after 9 p.m. and were accosted by judiciary security officers. Sources say it was the judiciary officers who promptly alerted the Marshall of the Supreme Court.
Observers believe that if these accounts are accurate then the judiciary officers are on high alert to protect the image and reputation of the judiciary.
There are calls for the Ministry of Justice to conduct its own investigation as it is alleged that an MoJ pickup and official state prosecution were the ones who attempted to tamper with the jurors.