Associate Justice in Chambers at the Supreme Court Sie – A – Nyene Yuoh has ordered the transfer of late journalist Tyron Browne’s murder case to the remote county of Gbarpolu, western Liberia.
She made the decision Thursday, 20 September, granting principal murder suspect defendant Jonathan Williams’ request to remove the case from Monrovia over fears that he might face biased media publication and impartial administration of justice in the capital.
But prosecutors have announced appeal against Justice Yuoh’s decision to the full bench of the Supreme Court sitting in its October Term.
Justice Yuoh had to abruptly abort the first ruling she was reading in court because she says she had noticed that it was “the wrong draft.”
She returned after few minutes expressing apology to counsellors before continuing with the actual draft of her ruling.Justice Yuoh overturns Criminal Court “A” Judge Roosevelt Z. Willie’s decisions in the case and orders that co – defendants Alice and Edwina’s case be transferred under the jurisdiction of the magisterial court.
She says Judge Willie was in error by denying defendant Williams’s request for a bench trial, change of venue, his failure to refuse jurisdiction over Alice and Edwina’s trial.
She has therefore confirmed the alternative writ of certiorari requested by the defendants, issued a peremptory writ of certiorari in the case and transferred Jonathan’s trial to the 16th judicial circuit in Gbarpolu County and transfers Alice and Edwina’s case to magisterial court jurisdiction.She says the only persons mentioned in the indictment as acting in concert were Jonathan Williams and [former] Caesar Kennedy; and not Edwina and Alice Youtey.
Caesar has already testified for the state, having being nolle prosequi (abandoned trial against) by the State.In line with Article 21 (h) of the Constitution of Liberia, she rules that Judge Willie was in grave error to have denied Jonathan’s motion to waive jury trial.
Article 21 (h) of the Constitution calls for trial by jury, but it also allows the person on trial to waive such right with the appropriate understanding of the right to a jury trial.
Justice Yuoh determines that the Constitution is above the statute relied upon by Judge Willie to deny defendant Williams a bench trial. Jonathan is alleged to have brutally murdered Tyron on 15 April this year while the victim was paying a visit at the residence of Edwina Youtey and Alice Youtey at the Duport Road Community.
The indictee allegedly dumped Tyron’s body around the Kingdom Care Hospital in Paynesville, return home at Duport Road and washed his vehicle that conveyed the victim and burned the plastic that was in the vehicle.
Alice and Edwina remain on trial for hindering law enforcement along with defendant Williams who faces charge of murder.They allegedly witnessed the incident, but did not report it to police or any law enforcement officer.
By Winston W. Parley