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Politics News

Journalist’s killer delays trial

The Criminal Court “B” handling the murder trial of late journalist Tyron Browne appears to be unhappy over the repeated delays by murder suspect Jonathan Williams, fining his counsel US$100.00 in response to the defense’s latest “delay strategies.”

“… [This] Court believes that the people on the defense counsel are testing the [resolve] of this court which cannot be tolerated any longer,” presiding Judge Roosevelt Z. Willie stated Friday, 31 August.

Judge Willie cites the defense counsel Cllr. Jallah Barbu’s inability to either convince his client about the processes he will take in his representation so that he can proceed, but rather “employ delay strategies.”

The judge warns the defense counsel that it is not a good sign as arm of the court, and fines the counsel an amount of US$100.00 or its equivalent at the Central Bank rate to be paid in the Judiciary account on or before Wednesday, 5 September.

The Court, however, grants the continuance requested by the defense because prosecution has consented, and thus schedules the case for Monday, 3 September.

When the case began on 15 August, the Court granted defendant Williams two weeks to secure a lawyer which ended on 29 August.

At the end of the two weeks, defendant Williams told the Court that he had begun preliminary discussions with Cllr. Jallah Barbu.

The lawyer informed the court that he had consented to represent defendant Williams’ interest, but then requested for time so that he could study the case.

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His request was granted and he was given three days to allow him study the case.

But the court appears unhappy by the defense team’s return on Friday, 31 August to further ask for change of venue and separate trial.
Judge Willie denied the motion for severance (separate trial) and ruled that the trial will continue jointly on Monday.

The defense team says it wanted separate trial for defendant Williams because the murder charge he faces is distinct and has no relationship with the charge of hindering law enforcement brought against co – defendants Edwina Youtey and Alice Youtey.

The defense claims that a joint trial of the defendants will work to prejudice their interest, among others, in contravention of their statutory and constitutional rights.

In resisting the defense’s request, the prosecution raises contention that the action of the co-defendants was intended to [divert] the state machinery of relevant information that could have led to the successful prosecution of the murder case.

Prosecution says the co-defendants’ motive once achieved, would have allowed the cold blooded murder of journalist Tyron Browne not to be brought to the attention of the criminal justice machinery.

Police say all of those that witnessed journalist Browne’s murder including Massa Kennedy, Bill Caesar Kennedy, Juana Bracewell and defendant Williams’ two nieces Alice Youtey and Edwina Promise Youtey did not report the crime to the police.

The victim’s body was said to have been dumped along the Kingdom Care Road in Duport Road on the night of Sunday, 15 April.

Prosecutors on Wednesday, 15 August nolle prosequi (abandoned trial against) defendants Bill Caesar Kennedy, Massa Kenedy and Juana Bracewell to have them testify for government against defendant Williams in return.

Prior to his murder, police say journalist Browne was a friend to Edwina Youtey and he had visited her several times both day and night at her house in Du-port Road which later became the crime scene.

Victim Browne was working with businessman Atty. George Kailondo’s private – owned Super FM/TV when he met his untimely demise following some exchanges with defendant Williams who is said to have been at Alice and Edwina’s residence before the victim’s visit there.

Police say defendant Williams allegedly admitted to killing victim Browne by stabbing him with a knife after the deceased allegedly knocked his (suspect’s) head on the wall.

The defendant is alleged to have narrated that he thought the deceased was an armed robber.
But investigators said journalist Browne was not an armed robber and did not possess any weapon when he visited the defendant’s compound in Du-port Road where he got killed.

By Winston W. Parley

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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