Lawyers representing former Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), Executive Governor, Milton Weeks have decried Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice for allowing state prosecutors to use it (court) as a vehicle through which the government flagrantly violates the dignity and fundamental right of individuals including the right to a speedy trial.
They further contended that by keeping him (Weeks) restrained indefinitely without any effort to prove the crimes charged in keeping with due process of law constitutes a violation of his rights under the law.
His legal team made this contention immediately after state prosecutors secured the third consecutive indictment against him and several other former employees of the bank, including four former members of its Board of Directors.
Weeks together with the former chairman of the board of governors, David M. Farhat, Melisa Emeh, Kollie Tamba and Elsie Dossen Badio, all former Board members, were indicted with multiple crimes that include economic sabotage, revenue fraud misuse of public money, theft and illegal disbursement of public money among others.
Others include t Director for Operations, Richard Walker; Director for Finance Department, Dorbor Hagba; and Deputy Director for Internal Audit, Mr. Joseph Dennis. They were indicted in connection to the disappearance of the controversial missing LD$16b.
Surprisingly, not a single member of the former Board of Directors has surrendered to the court, neither has any of them been arrested and placed under the jurisdiction of the Court despite a writ of arrest to have them brought involuntarily before the Court to answer charges proffered against them by state prosecutors.
In a motion for ‘Advancement of Case on the Court’s Docket,’ lawyers representing Weeks contended that the government repeatedly indict, arrest and seek his detention on account of the self-same allegations and related charges without trial does not only violate his dignity and freedom of movement, the action is also tantamount to prosecution and wanton disregard for his right to a speedy trial and it requires the court to exercise its good and sound discretion to advance the case on the docket to enable the prosecution prove its case while equally providing the accused the opportunity to defend himself against charges contained in the indictment.
“This court needs to exercise its dissection to advance the case on the docket for hearing during the May Term, as was originally scheduled,” the Weeks’ request said. It continues, “It will send out a clear message to the prosecution and the general public that the court cannot be used or seen to be used as a vehicle through which the state flagrantly violates the dignity and fundamental right of individuals including the right to speedy trial by keeping them restrained indefinitely without any effort to prove the crimes charged under the required standard of proof.”
Further, according to defense lawyers, the only remedy available to Weeks is to curtail and abate the state prosecutors deliberate dilatory tactics and continuous violations of his right to a speedy trial is to move the court to advance the underlying action on its docket for the May Term, “so that this court may for the cause shown and in its sound discretion, advance the case on the docket for timely hearing preferably during the term so that fair, impartial and speedy trial can be accorded all parties the state and defense”.
Weeks’ defense team also argued that the June 8, 2020 indictment issued against Weeks by the Grand Jury for Montserrado County, makes it the third time that state prosecutors have issued, served and returns served on him in more than a year without any serious attempts to prosecute the case and or grant him speedy trial as required by Article 20 (a ) of the 1986 Constitution and laws of the country.
Article 20 (a) states that “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, the security of the person, property, privilege or any other right except as the outcome of a hearing judgment consistent with the provisions laid down in this Constitution and in accordance with due process of law. Justice shall be done without sale, denial or delay; and in all cases not arising in courts not of record, under courts-martial and upon impeachment, the parties shall have the right to trial by jury.”