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Multiple Defense Motions Stall Trial

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Supreme Court of Liberia NDA court document available to the New Dawn newspaper appears to show how defense lawyers have been filling multiple motions for bail or separate trials in the murder case of late Police Officer Amos Tutu, perpetually stalling a full trial wherein the accused are expected to exonerate themselves.

On account of alleged murder crime, the grand jurors for Montserrado County indicted defendants Kwame Akakpo, Aaron Lackay, Nicholas Wleh, Mitchel Davis, Patrick Davis, Paul Andrews and Matthews and others on August 13, 2010 for allegedly setting ablaze to death, Officer Amos Tutu of the Police Support Unit on Capitol Bye-pass.

Officer Tutu was alleged to have shot and killed Preston Davis, which allegedly prompted a mob action by angry residents who subsequently overpowered him, spilled gasoline on him and set him ablaze and burnt to death.

In total, five different judges at Criminal Court “A”, including the late Judge James W. Zotaa, Jr.; Judge Sakijipo Wolor; Judge A. Blamo Dixon; Judge Emmanuel Kollie and current resident Judge Roosevelt Willie, have presided over the case – only dealing with legal formalities mostly advanced by the defense team since 2010.

Under these different judges, the defense counsels have filed roughly five different motions for their clients to be admitted to bail or get separate trials.

They filed a motion for late Judge Zotaa to recuse himself from the case, and prayed the Supreme Court to issue a writ of prohibition against the proceedings, in demonstration of their dissatisfaction over the lower court’s ruling to subpoena Power TV management to produce video recording of the murder incident.

On 6th July this year, the latest ruling against a motion to bail was handed by Presiding Criminal Court “A” Judge Roosevelt Z. Willie, adding to the number of judges before whom defense counsels had filed similar motions for their clients to be admitted to bail in the very case beginning 2010.

But like his predecessors, Judge Willie ruled Monday, July [6] that the court denied the motion to admit defendants to bail- “as doing so would amount to undoing the act of our Predecessor with whom we have concurrent jurisdiction.”

Judge Willie observed that the case was proceeded with as several judges presided; and the records showed that prosecution had made all efforts for the defendants to be accorded ‘due process of law.’

“Moreover and although the ruling denying the defendants bail stated that they should seize the opportunity to move the Court to exonerate themselves, there is no showing in the records before this court or any documents from the Movants/Defendants that they made such efforts to assign the case…” Judge Willie ruled, finally denying the motion to admit the defendants to bail, and saying they did not come with clean hands- opposed to the “maxim in law” that states that he who comes to equity must come with clean hands.

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