The prosecution’s attempt to have the jury’s verdict in favor of Armstrong Tony Campbell, accused of transporting seven stolen vehicles from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – USA, where he lived for over 10 years, to Liberia overturned was yesterday denied by Criminal Court C. The prosecution sought the court’s intervention to nullify the August 11 verdict on grounds that it was characterized with several legal inaccuracies contrary to evidence produced during the trial. Besides Campbell, the jury dropped charges against co-defendant Sheak K. Brown, who resides in Liberia and was charged with theft of property, economic sabotage, smuggling and criminal facilitation.
Denying the state’s appeal yesterday, Judge Yussif Kaba said there is no provision under the criminal procedural law granting prosecution the right to challenge the verdict of the jury. “They even failed to provide legal justification that should have convinced the court to grant their application for a new trial,” the court said. According to Judge Kaba, the state failed to produce new evidence to legally support its request for a new trial, adding: “Even this court and any other courts do not have the right to allow prosecution to enjoy the privileges and benefits from the remedy provided by our law for a new trial against the jury verdict. Therefore the prosecution’s appeal for a new trial is denied.” The law provides that only the defendant has the right to challenge a jury’s verdict and subsequently ask for a new trial.
The case began when the U.S. Embassy near Monrovia last October notified local investigative agencies, including the Liberia National Police (LNP), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), that several vehicles had been stolen from the US and were being shipped to Liberia. The allegation was denied by Campbell and his co-defendant, Sheak K. Brown. The prosecution’s indictment alleged that from July to October 2016, co-defendant Campbell, Sheriff Lasudo, together with others yet to be identified, while in the United States, conspired with co-defendant Brown to knowingly steal, take, convert, ship, receive and retain in Liberia seven stolen vehicles belonging to persons in the USA without the authorization of the owners. The indictment revealed that the vehicles were shipped to Liberia in the name of a non-existent, fictitious company named “Shea K. Brown Building Material, Incorporated,” for which the co-defendant presented himself as the purported general manager.