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University students in court over nude video

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Four young female students from privately – run United Methodist University (UMU) are in court for their alleged link to the sharing of a nude video of their female friend and schoolmate on social media between June and July 2018.The accused include Anita Woods, Stephanie Ajavon, Deddeh Yaesiah and Charlotte Dixon.

A police Charge sheet that accompanied them to the Monrovia City Court on Wednesday, 24 October says they face a charge of dissemination of obscene materials, for knowingly and purposely distributing a nude video secretly recorded by the victim on her phone while at home.

Both the complainant and the defendants are friends and schoolmates at UMU on Ashmum Street in Monrovia, according to police.The victim is said to have done a secret recording of herself while at home on her cellphone; and that co-defendant Anita Woods allegedly had access to the nude video while it was still in the victim’s phone, the police add.

Prior to the video sharing incident, police say the victim had some misunderstanding with her fiance in June this year and then moved out of their SKD Boulevard residence, relocating to the Old Road.Anita is said to have come in to make some intervention between the victim and her fiance and was at some point allegedly seen in closed door with the victim’s fiance during late night hours.

Police say this sparked commotion, and that days later, a nude video of the victim was secretly being shared inbox by the defendants.Co-defendants Charlotte Dixon and Deddeh Yaesiah allegedly distributed the video among others with titles: “La sex tape is really lit ooh and we are making sure every citizen of this country will have a copy of the sex tape.”

The police indicate that defendant Stephanie Ajavon is a member of the chart room called “We Chart” and was fully involved with the sharing of the nude video of the victim.Lawyers representing defendants Anita, Deddeh, Stephanie and Charlotte made a submission seeking a pre – trial conference to narrow down the issue and to avoid legal technicality.

On their behalf, Counsel Jimmy Saah Bombo says the request is in good faith, intended to foster and ensure transparent justice and speedy trial.But prosecuting lawyer Cllr. Sam Y. Cooper resists the submission as being unmeritorious, arguing that the statute provides that there should be a meeting of the mind of an attorney of the defendants and the prosecuting attorney for a pretrial conference [before the request can be made in court].

In essence, Cllr. Cooper uprightly rejected a pre – trial conference as has been requested because prosecutors were not consulted by the defense to narrow down those issues that are befitting the court.He then asks that the Court to order the defendants in the dock to file the appropriate bond so as to secure their day to day appearance.

In the absence of that, the lawyer says the defendants should be remanded at the Monrovia Central Prison (MCP) or South Beach so as to deter the naked showing.Stipendiary Magistrate Kennedy Peabody denied the application for pretrial conference because it seemed that there was no meeting of the mind based on the resistance filed by the prosecution.

He however instructed the defendants to proffer the appropriate criminal appearance bond commensurate the crime charged, warning that if they fail to so do, they will be turned over to the sheriff of court who have them incarcerated at the MCP pending the issuance of the criminal appearance bond.Meanwhile, only co – defendant Antia’s lawyer was able to file a bond and secured her release, while the rest Deddeh, Stephanie and Charlotte were sent to jail at the Monrovia Central Prison due to their failure to file their bonds.As per the court’s instruction, they will remain incarcerated pending the filing of their criminal appearance bond.

By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah

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