The Second Judicial Circuit Court in Grand Bassa County has sentenced 12 defendants to an indefinite period of detention not to exceed 10 years with the possibility of parole on good behavior.
Those sentenced were Fred Saye, Yei Dokie, Prince Zeaduah, Jerome
Zuweh, Wilson Gono, Wuo Gballah, and Peter Zuweh, Orande Kortor, William Gbanda, Saye Jebolo, Saye Garteh and Oretha Gono.
Announcing his final judgment, on April 13, presiding Judge Yusuf Kaba said court records showed that the crimes committed by the defendants were more or less crimes of obsession and since the purpose of a criminal trial is to serve as a deterrent to future commission of similar offenses, the court shall take due cognizance of the peculiar nature of the crimes for which the defendants were adjudged guilty.
Judge Kaba said it did not appear from court records of the proceedings that any of defendants was a habitual criminal.
According to him, the jury returned with a unanimous verdict holding the defendants guilty of multiple crimes and there being no motion for a new trial, therefore, the defendants were adjudged guilty.
The defense took exception and announced an appeal to the Supreme Court sitting in its October Term 2015, which was granted by Judge Kaba.
Under the law, a defendant charged with multiple offenses for which a verdict of guilty is rendered shall be sentenced to the highest crime charged, said Judge Kaba.
“A perusal of the indictment shows that the highest crime charged is armed robbery and a review of the record in these proceedings shows that no death ensued as a consequence of the commission of the crime,” he said.
During the trial, the state was represented by the Ministry of Justice and present in court were Attorney Edwin Baquol, Cllr. Theophius Gould, Cllr. Onesemous Barwon and others.
The defense lawyers were Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe, Lafen Keneh, Sr., and Grand Bassa County Public Defender, Cllr. Paul Jarvan. The State produced 11 witnesses while the defense produced seven.
The defendants were arrested last year following riots that paralyzed operations at Arcelor Mittal site near Mount Takadeh in Nimba County.
The case was transferred to Grand Bassa County.
The multiple crimes included arson, armed robbery, and theft of property, physical obstruction of government function, criminal mischief, riot, and failure to disperse.
Others were disorderly conduct, obstruction of highway and other public passage and criminal conspiracy.
During the commission of the crimes, the accused disturbed, damaged and carried away properties of ArcelorMittal, Afcons and SEGAL valued
at US$5,000,000 and physically obstructed the enforcement of the law at Banlaw (TNF) junction near Gbarpa, felled trees and created road blocks.
They also restricted free movement of traffic, violated, exhibited cutlasses, sticks, stones and other lethal instruments, and chanted threatening slogans.