Liberia: Arrested Former Chief Justice Files Writ of Habeas Corpus

Former Chief Justice Gloria Musa Scott at the headquarter of the Liberian National Police last week after being questioned regarding the unknown assassin(s) who invaded her home on February 23. 

 

…. The writ comes as she and other family members are being held by the police at its headquarters in a detention cell while waiting for formal charges. 

A former Chief Justice of Liberia, Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott, has filed a writ of habeas corpus at the Criminal Court C after being accused by the Liberia National Police of ‘murdering’  her niece, Charloe Musu, whose death was reported as an armed robbery attack.

Scott, whose request is expected to be heard today — the same day the police is expected to release its investigative finding in Musu’s death — stands accused of making false statements to law enforcement officers as well as criminal conspiracy.

The reported charges against the former Chief Justice are grave with murder being a non-billable offense.  The writ of habeas corpus comes as she and other family members are being held by the police at its headquarters in a detention cell while waiting for formal charges. 

Habeas Corpus is a legal procedure used to determine the lawfulness of imprisonment or detention of an accused.

As for  Scott, her detention without being charged is a violation of her human rights and that of three family members who are expected to also be charged with murder, criminal conspiracy, and making false statements to law enforcement officers.

They are Rebecca Wisner, Scott's aunt, Gertrude Newton, and Alice Johnson — all of whom were at home with the former Chief Justice when Charloe was killed.

The reported charges against Scott come as a surprising turn of events as the police had initially claimed a few hours after the incident on  February 22 that the person who murdered Charloe might have been a contracted worker in the former Chief Justice’s compound. 

However, the police have now changed the narrative after four months of “exhaustive investigation” — which they believe did not show any trace of Musu being killed by an outsider — rather by insiders. 

Scott had told the police in March that “I know for a fact that there was somebody in our sleeping quarters who should not have been there, and this person is the person that killed Charloe Musu. 

“She didn't die by herself,” Cllr. Scott continued. “I know that for a fact. When I encountered this person, I engaged their eyes and I put the pepper spray in their eyes because it was a question of life and death.”

According to government pathologist, Dr. Benedict Kolee, Musu died as a result of excessive bleeding, which was caused by multiple stabbings.

“She lost so much blood on the inside and outside after a piercing below her left rib, which cut one of the arteries that made blood flow in the chest, leading to the collapse of her left lung,” Kulee said in his autopsy report on the remains of the deceased.

Charloe Musu, who was a graduating Senior of Staz University met her untimely death during the night hours of Feb. 22, when “the home of the former Chief Justice came under an alleged attack.”

That night was the third incident. The previous two, according to Scott, were reported to the police and the Ministry of Justice — with the former admitting in a statement on Feb. 26 that after receiving reports of the first two attacks, they “started patrolling the area”.

The police at that time did not specify what it meant by “patrolling the area” and never posted an officer at Scott’s residence.

Cllr. Jerome Verdier, the former chairman of the disbanded Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), then made a shocking claim a few days after Musu was murdered, alleging that Varlee Telleh, who worked as the operations officer for Monrovia City Police, under the direct supervision of Mayor Jefferson Koijee, was responsible for the attack.

Upon learning of this accusation, the police summoned Mayor Koijee and patrolman Telleh for questioning. The aim was to ascertain their involvement, as alleged by the former TRC chairman. 

Cllr. Arthur Johnson, the lead counsel for Koijee and patrolman Telleh then stated that the police did not uncover any evidence to support the allegations leveled against his clients, therefore they were not charged, even though the investigation then was in its early stage. 

Meanwhile, Nyowo Scott, the son of the former Chief Justice, has questioned the police decision to charge his mother with murder. He insinuated that the charges were politically motivated.

This comes after stalwarts of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change and its supporters claimed that the former Chief Justice may be the murderer when the police investigation was still in its infancy. 

“What is this, politics? The murderer is out there, and my mother is innocent. Why are people tarnishing her reputation? We are prepared to fight back, and our legal team will vigorously defend her.

“My mother has been wrongly charged, but we are prepared to fight. It’s time for battle, and our legal team is ready,” the younger Scott said. “Those who have spread negative rumors about my mother should prepare themselves for the truth to prevail.”

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