-Justice Yuoh places stay order
Family members of murdered Super FM Journalist Tyron Brown may likely not get their anticipated justice soon due to a stay order imposed on the case by Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh, until she can fully review a complaint about the alleged legal blunder (mistake) discovered in the state indictment drawn against defendant Jonathan Williams and his two co-defendants and that was ignored by Judge Roosevelt Willie of Criminal Court ‘A’ where the matter is being heard.
Currently the Chamber Justice, Yuoh’s action came about when she held a conference with the defense team, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and Judge Willie, regarding a ‘Petition for the Writ of Certiorari’ prayed for by Williams and his co-defendants Alice and Edwina Youti.
She meanwhile scheduled legal argument into the matter for September 17, meaning that her stay order will remain in place pending the determination of the merit and demerit of the legal breach.
And if any of the parties are not satisfied with Yuoh’s handling of the matter, they can appeal against her decision before the Full Bench of the Supreme Court, which could likely take weeks.
Journalist Brown was found dead in the early hours of April 16, 2018, in the Kingdom Care Community on Duport Road, with physical injuries.
Shortly afterward, his lifeless body was discovered. But police arrested Williams as prime suspect and subsequently charged him with the crime of murder, along with co-defendants Alice and Edwina Youti, who were also charged with hindering law enforcement in connection to Brown’s death.
Prior to Yuoh’s stay order, the Youti legal team had argued that the crime of hindering of law enforcement as charged in the indictment was beyond the jurisdiction of Criminal Court ‘A’, equating it to misdemeanor, which by law must be exclusively heard by only magisterial court, not the circuit court.
Besides, the lawyers also asked Judge Willie to allow Alice and Edwina to be tried separately from Williams, because, according to Youti’s lawyers, the state charges against them was not so grave as compared to the murder charge against defendant Williams.
Despite the concern raised by the lawyers’ pointing to the government’s legal blunder, Judge Willie sided with the state lawyers and subsequently asked that the matter be proceeded with, which action prompted Youti’s lawyers to file the writ for reviewing of Willie’s judgment.
As for Williams, his request to change the venue of his trial from Monrovia to any of the other counties on grounds that the alleged murder charge was committed in Monrovia, and if he were to be tried here, he could also not get a free, fair and transparent hearing, was denied.
Again Judge Willie colluded with the prosecution to deny that request.
Another error was that Judge Willie agreed with the prosecution to deny William’s request for a bench trial, meaning that the judge should serve as both the jury and the judge, of which prosecution resisted and Willie accepted.
Immediately, after Yuoh’s stay order, several legal experts (name withheld) wondered as to why the MoJ will allow itself to commit “elementary mistakes?”
An expert assumed that the blunder was intended to delay justice into the matter, and subsequently circumvent the law that says hindering law enforcement was exclusively for magistrate court, and not the circuit court.
“Those guys are senior Supreme Court lawyers. How in this world could they make a blunder like this by leaving the murdered journalist’s family in the dark and without telling them when they are going to get justice? “the lawyer wondered.
Another lawyer argued whether the government was serious about the case, taking into consideration the series of mistakes they had made during the trial, which they said led to the stay order.