The economic sabotage trial of several past and present officials here may be leading towards some complications in relations to a number of motions being filed by defendants on separate trials compounded by an appeal that is already before the Supreme Court of Liberia to prevent subpoenaing of bank accounts.
Several government officials both past and present including former House Speaker Alex Tyler and Senator Varney Sherman are facing trial here for allegedly receiving bribe from a British company Sable Mining to alter a concession law in favor of the company. The allegations are based on a Global Witness report release early this year.
Following the Court’s decision last week that prosecutors should produce all species of evidence in ten days, it also moved on Monday, 19 December to “re-hear” another motion filed by one of the indictees Sen. Sherman, who bluntly argues that the court cannot entertain any matter decided by a court of concurrent jurisdiction.
Last Thursday, 15 December the Criminal Court “C” ruled that all species of evidence be produced, except for bank accounts that were still being contested on appeal at the Supreme Court, while granting indicted former Speaker Alex Tyler’s request for prosecution to produce evidence against the defendants in the case.
Prosecutors had said they could not disclose the evidence demanded by Mr. Tyler because another indictee Sen. Sherman and his law firm had already appealed to the Supreme Court after Criminal Court “A” denied their motion which sought to prevent prosecutors from subpoenaing documents from banks.
Sen. Sherman says the stay order issued by presiding Criminal Court “A” Judge J. Boima Kontoe applies to the Criminal Court “C” for the writ of subpoena duces tecum (subpoena for documents) for the same documents which were subject of the writ issued by Court “A” on 23 May and were subject of appeal at the Supreme Court.
“… [This] Court cannot entertain any matter between the same parties and on the same issue which an appeal is pending. In the case Bonah et al. v. kondakai … the Honorable Supreme Court held “A court may not entertain a matter when such matter is pending in another court of concurrent jurisdiction,” Sen. Sherman’s counsels have argued.
The court is expected to make decision in the re-argument of the Sen. Sherman’s motion this week. Editing by Jonathan Browne