By Lincoln G. Peters
The Liberian Government has reacted angrily against a court’s release of former Chief Justice Gloria Musu Scott from police custody, alleging that it was due to her profile and influence.
Cllr. Scott and her family members Rebecca Youdeh Wisner, Gertrude Newton, and Alice Johnson spent Tuesday night in police detention after reports that police had charged them with murder, criminal conspiracy, and providing false reports to law enforcement officers.
Presided over by Judge A. Blamo Dixon, the Criminal Court “C” in Monrovia ordered Cllr. Scott and her three family members were released from the police holding cell and entrusted to Cllr. Augustine Fayiah’s custody.
The judge ruled Wednesday, 21 June 2023 after hearing a petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed by Cllr. Scott’s lawyers to produce the accused before the court.
Judge Dixon also ordered the reduction in the deployment of armed police officers at the court or their withdrawal from the facility.
He granted the release of Cllr. Scott and her accused family members for the reasons stated in their petition.
Judge Dixon denied the prosecution’s resistance to the defense’s petition and ordered the sheriff to place the accused in office for lawyers to sign for them.
The judge released them pending the issuance of a writ of arrest from the appropriate court or the issuance of an indictment from the grand jury of Montserrado County.
In an interview outside the court Wednesday, the Justice Ministry’s lead lawyer Cllr. Lafayette B. Gould alleged that the Criminal Court “C” had released Cllr. Scott because she is not an ordinary person in the society.
“Cllr. Scott was never placed in jail, rather she was being investigated for murder, criminal conspiracy, and false report to law enforcement officers,” said Cllr. Gould.
“Being investigated and charged [are] two different things. If it [were] an ordinary person today, they will not go home,” Cllr. Gould said in protest against the former Chief Justice’s release.
Cllr. Gould argued that Cllr. Scott and her family’s argument was far from the petition they filed with the court.
He alleged that “They argued outside their petition,” noting that the court doesn’t have jurisdiction or issues of the matter.
On late Tuesday evening, 20 June 2023, Cllr. Scott’s lawyers filed a writ of Habeas Corpus with the Criminal Court “C” alleging that their client was unlawfully detained and arrested by the Government of Liberia.
In a seven-count petition, the defense prayed the court to grant the petition on grounds that it is in line with Article 21 Sections ‘E’ and ‘F’ of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia.
But the prosecution prayed the court to ignore, dismiss, and petition. Meanwhile, Cllr. Gould has rubbished information that Cllr. Scott has been charged.
He said the former Chief Justice and three of her family members who were detained had not been charged by the government.
Cllr. Gould maintained that they were being investigated for murder, criminal conspiracy, and false reports to law enforcement officers.
“We will conclude our investigation and the next action will be taken against Cllr. Scott and the others,” he said.
“This matter is a matter [that is] still under investigation and we will come out with the appropriate action in the period specified by law,” he said.
He noted that the public will soon hear the breaking news.
The Liberia National Police (LNP) has taken months to investigate Cllr. Scott and her family members about the murder of her daughter Charloe Musu.
Charloe’s death in February this year shocked the country and heightened security fears.
She was murdered at Cllr. Scott’s residence after the former Chief Justice reported to police authorities two separate incidents of alleged armed robbery attacks at her home in Brewerville.
Cllr. Scott lamented that the government did not lift a finger to prevent the third incident in which her daughter Charloe was killed.
Following the incident, U.S.-based Liberian former head of the erstwhile Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Cllr. Jerome Verdier alleged that Monrovia Mayor Jefferson T. Koijee had ordered Monrovia City Police Officer Varlee Telleh to carry out the attack.
Both Koijee and Telleh have denied playing a role in the attacks and the murder of Charloe.
Cllr. Scott on Tuesday appeared at the LNP headquarters along with Rebecca Youdeh Wisner, Gertrude Newton, and Alice Johnson.
Cllr. Scott was escorted by her legal team to the LNP to receive her charges. Cllr. Scott appeared very ill, and she almost fell to the ground while disembarking a vehicle at the LNP headquarters.
Police declared Cllr. Scott and her three family members as suspects and detained them.