Liberia: Former Chief Justice Scott’s Murder Trial ‘Temporary Paused’

Former Chief Justice Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott (fourth from right), along with her co-accused, escorted by sheriff of the court.

— As defense lawyers file a writ of certiorari 

Associate Justice Jamesetta Wolokolie has issued a stay order on the murder trial Involving former Chief Justice Gloria Musu Scott and three other family members. 

The decision by Wolokolie, who is the Supreme Court’s Justice-in-Chamber, comes after the defense lawyers filed a writ of certiorari against Criminal Court ‘A’ Judge Roosevelt Willie’s decision to deny their request to “visit the crime scene and conduct an independent autopsy.”

Scott's legal team, led by seasoned lawyers, vehemently contested the judge’s denial on grounds that access to the crime scene is crucial to the defendant’s innocence. They argued that Willie’s action violated the defendant’s right to a fair trial.

In response to this legal challenge, a stay order from Wolokolie was issued pending a resolution of the writ of certiorari. The stay order effectively suspends all proceedings in the trial until a higher court can review Willie's decision. Wolokollie is, however,  expected to issue a ruling on September 8 as to whether to approve the defendant’s request, previously rejected by Willie, or uphold the judge’s decision.

Scott, a former Minister of Justice, is accused, along with three other individuals, of “brutally murdering” Charloe Musu, who happens to be a relative. Musu, who was a  graduating senior at Starz University College, had been living with the legal luminary before her death in February.

Although the defendants have consistently denied the accusations, the Ministry of Justice indictment, which is based on a four-month investigation by the Liberia National Police, reveals a series of “shocking revelations.”

The indictment accuses the defendants of murder, criminal conspiracy, making false statements to law enforcement, deliberately altering evidence, fabricating a false narrative, and showing a callous disregard for human life. 

It alleges that Scott, a former Chief Justice, utilized her legal expertise and criminal justice background to create a story that would protect herself and her co-defendants from the murder accusations.  One crucial element in the prosecution's case is the testimony of "unclassified materials, in which Scott claims that the death was the result of an alleged armed robbery.”

Other testimonies include those of security personnel who, according to the indictment, asserted that the defendants' claim of an armed attack was false and that the body of the deceased was discovered in the legal luminary’s bathroom.

However, it remains unclear whether the Ministry has conducted any DNA testing to match the alleged blood found in Scott's room with that of the deceased. 

The Ministry has also not stated whether they have located the purported knife used to “stab” the deceased, resulting in “nine wounds on her chest, right hand, armpit, and left thigh, inflicted with a knife claimed to be possessed by co-defendant Gertrude Newton.”