Seven of the 18 persons accused of mercenary activities in neighboring La Côte d’Ivoire may be set free, if their pleas are accepted by Criminal Court ‘D’ at the Temple of Justice.
The 18 men were arrested between 2010 and 2012 in Grand Gedeh County by state security. They were subsequently indicted and charged in 2013 for alleged mercenary activities.
In their 19-count “Motion for Judgment Acquittal,” lawyers for the defense argued that witnesses who have testified for prosecution have already admitted that the seven co-defendants knew nothing about fighting in La Côte d’Ivoire.
They further argued that the co-defendants should be acquitted as a matter of law, stating that “The state failed to produce evidence against them.”
The lawyers said state witnesses had failed to produce evidence showing that any of the co-defendants was arrested with arms, while returning from La Côte d’Ivoire to Liberia, where they were arrested.
The defense team added that prosecution failed “miserably” to satisfy the “burden of proof” in the matter as required by law, alleging the evidence was insufficient to convict the men of the charge.
They also argued that government failed during the trial to prove their indictments with clear and cogent evidences, as there were material variances (contradictions) in the testimonies of their witnesses.
Therefore, the lawyers prayed that “This Honorable Court should accept the motion and discharge the co-defendants from further answering to the charge of mercenarism, and grant unto them such further relief it may consider just and legal”.