The trial of former National Port Authority or NPA Managing Director Ms. Matilda Parker and her comptroller Mrs. Christina Kpabar-Paelay has been postponed to allow prosecution’s second witness Mr. Deneah Martin Flomo get medical attention.
Ms. Parker and Mrs. Paelay remain on trial after prosecution abandoned further legal action against witness Flomo who is jointly indicted with the former two officials for contracts valued over US$800,000 awarded to Flomo to remove wrecks and provide security consultancy in violation of public procurement laws that the contractor allegedly failed to implement.
Two days after presiding Criminal Court “C” Judge A. Blamo Dixon granted the entire jury panel request to seek medical examination at an unknown hospital in the country, prosecution on January 15 informed the court that witness Flomo was “ill and attending … medical attention …”
The state lawyers said due to witness Flomo’sillness, he could not appear in court on Friday, 15 January to continue testifying on the direct or face cross-examination, and promised to file a medical certificate with the court following completion of his medical examination.
The prosecution subsequently asked the court to postpone the hearing to Monday, 18 January, but said in the instance where the medical attention was not completed, they would inform the court.
Judge Dixon granted the prosecution’s request, and overruled the defense counsel’s resistance, subsequently assigning the case for today, Monday, 18 January at 11a.m. as requested by the state lawyers.
The defense team argued that the information provided by the prosecution was “scanty, indefinite” and did not meet the requirement for continuance … due to illness without saying which hospital is being selected for the examination.
However, the defense raised suspicion that it seemed the submission by the state was made “for the purpose to delay this trial and to frustrate the interest of justice and the defendant.” In a related development, Judge Dixon told the parties in the case that the Jury Management and the Court have resolved that both prosecution and defense counsels be represented … “to go along with the jurors at the designated hospital in the interest of fair play and transparent justice.”
He says “the most likely date for the hospital going of the jurors shall be on Tuesday, January 19, 2016,” adding that the both representatives should contact the office of the jury management that will lead the jury to the hospital.
Judge Dixon says the Jury Management … will conduct the affairs of the jury medication for that day or any other later date. As it stands, the case may continue upon the completion of medication examination by both the jury and witness Flomo.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Jonathan Browne