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Gov’t pardons Vandalark Patricks

Prosecutors have dropped all charges against self-proclaimed advocate Mr. Vandalark Patricks, indicted in February this year for alleged sedition and criminal libel against President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

“That though the Government believes that it was right to press legal action against the defendant to deter others from the abuse of freedom of speech as enshrined in the organic law of the land, the Constitution of Liberia, Government however elects to exercise its right as provided in Chapter 18 Section 18.1 of the Criminal Procedure Law of Liberia by dropping all charges against Defendant Vandalark Partricks without any reservation,” prosecution said.

Mr. Patricks was indicted on 24 February, less than two days after his arrest for allegedly accusing the Sirleaf Administration of allegedly advocating the murder of its political opponents to attain and maintain state power.

His relief from further charges comes just about the same time the State has also dropped all perceived claims and charges against businessman turned-politician Mr. Simeon Freeman who went in hiding since police invited him to provide clarity into claims that government possessed a list of politicians to be eliminated.

Mr. Patricks accused the Sirleaf led-government just at the time there were numerous questions in the public surrounding the mysterious death of former Liberian Petroleum Refining Company or LPRC boss Mr. Harry A. Greaves whose naked dead body was found on the beach.

He remained incarcerated for several days at the Monrovia Central Prison following his indictment before securing a bond for his release. But the Justice Ministry through Montserrado County Attorney Cllr. Darku Mulbah’s Office wrote assigned Criminal Court “A” Judge J. Boima Kontoe to announce that it was dropping all charges against the indictee.

Upon the pronouncement at Criminal Court “A”, Patricks’ lawyer Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe took exception to the prosecution’s request to dismiss the indictment, arguing that the “government should not abuse the right of its citizens by arresting them and getting them indicted under criminal laws that are not supported by the constitution …. Only to ask court to dismiss such indictments…”

Cllr. Gongloe contended that it was abused of the rights of citizens, claiming that such posture were tactics only associated with dictatorship and not democracy. Cllr. Gongloe however said he interposed no objection since dismissing the indictment was the right of the state.

Judge Kontoe granted the prosecution’s application to Nolle Prosequoi Mr. Patricks and dismissed the indictment as requested by the state.

By Winston W. Parley-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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