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Jury manager claims “blackmail”

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Assistant Jury Manager Peter Winston Fayiah, has termed as “baseless, unfounded and misdirected allegation,” claims that he tried to temper with jurors, citing alleged “smear campaign intended toblackmail” him.

Prosecution raised claims of jury tempering in a communication filed with the court on February 10 after producing six witnesses against former managing director of the National Port Authority or NPA, Ms. MatildaParker and her comptroller, Mrs. Christina Kpabar-Paelay in a US$800,000 plus economic sabotage trial.

Mr. Fayiah and a jury kitchen care-taker Madam Janneh Kamara on Tuesday, 16 February assisted a wider jury tempering investigation being spearheaded by presiding Criminal Court “C” Judge A. BalmoDixon, with both judicial workers denying they had knowledge of jury tempering claim and communications allegedly originating from them to jurors.

He says the date police confirmed intercepting documents from Bindu on Saturday, January 30 was a non-working day for Jury Management, claiming “attempt to taint” the Jury Management office. According to him, there was a smear campaign to put a dark cloud on the work of his office, claiming to have been resisted on several occasions as non-lawyer and brought to public ridicule.

The jury manager argued that the Office of Jury Management is not an extension of prosecution “for the benefit of the court and the free implementation of the jury law.”

He told the court investigation that on Friday, January 29, he was busied at a carpenter shop across the bridge on Bushrod Island, preparing for relocation to his new residence. Fayiah alleged that on many occasions, they questioned bailiff Bindu, whom he claimed asked him for favor many times such as money for food, medicines, among others that he claims other bailiffs and police officers could attest to.

He claimed to have responded to her requests by giving her 200 and 400 Liberian Dollars, respectively, among others, saying he has done this consistently out of passionate mind. During a hectic cross examination with witness Kamara, prosecutors announced they would produce rebuttal witnesses after she denied questions if she was the source of a letter telling jurors to relax; they would get their money, and if bailiff Bindu had any reason to lie on her that she gave the letter.

The prosecution unsuccessfully made a submission for the court to subpoena the Judiciary’s Human Resource Management or the Court Administrator to provide the employment records of Madam Kamara, as well as the management of Lonestar Cell GSM to produce documents relative to her contact number.

The State made the request after failing to get Madam Kamara’s response to their question to which the court sustained defense’s objection if she denied addressing “this letter to” her “son KissiKamara,” the jury foreman.

But Judge Dixon denied the prosecution’s request to subpoena the offices of the judicial officials mentioned as well as LoneStar Communication Corporation on grounds that “the court has already gotten what itwanted from the investigation.”

The Judge said the investigation was for fact- finding, and witnesses called upon to assist the investigation, including Madam Kamara, were not on trial. The court had said witness Fayiah was the last witness in respect to the jury tempering investigation, but the State has notwithstanding announced earlier it would produce rebuttal witnesses.

The jury tempering probe has impeded the ongoing US$800,000 trial involving the ex-NPA boss Ms Parker and her comptrollerMrs. Kpabar-Paelay.

By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Jonathan Browne

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