The Government of Liberia on Monday, June 16 filed a 13-count response to the defense motion seeking a new trial for 13 persons convicted of mercenarism by Jurors of Criminal Court ‘D.’
Jurors on June 10 brought down a guilty verdict against the defendants for their involvement in mercenary activities in neighboring La Côte d’Ivoire, where several persons including seven UN peacekeepers were allegedly ambushed and killed.
However, the defendants’ lawyers pleaded with the Court to reject the jurors’ verdict and declare a new trial in the matter.
Interestingly, Judge Emery Paye will now be compelled to reschedule his final judgment that was scheduled for Tuesday, June 17, and rule on the defense motion, a common request when convictions are appealed.
Instead, the Criminal Court Judge has scheduled hearing of the request for a new trial on Tuesday, June 17.
The prosecution’s response among others, said the jurors took into consideration testimonies including those of the rebuttal witnesses, specifically Roland Garwo, who testified that he crossed the defendants in his canoe following their attacked in La Côte d’Ivoire.
They further said that some of the witnesses, like Thomas Glaider, Pascal Kollie and Baryee Gaye corroborated each other and hence, the jurors having tried the fact could not hesitate but to arrive at a guilty verdict.
They argued that Gaye pointed to the fact that the defendants had based in Garlo’s Town and others including the Thai forest and controlled areas in that sisterly nation.
They went further to say that one of their witnesses, Inspector Savior Howard visited the crime scene, as opposed to the defense lawyers claim that none of the investigators, whose findings led to the indictment of the defendants visited the crime scene in both Liberia and La Côte d’Ivoire.
They also argued that Witness Gaye, when he testified named weapons like M-60, RPG and AK-47, as guns used by the defendants to fight in La Côte d’Ivoire.
Prosecution prayed the court not to disturb the unanimous verdict of the jurors, whom they claimed, listened attentively and took note of the testimonies of all their witnesses including Prince Barclay as well as the defendants mere denial.
They maintained that the defense request constitutes total disrespect for the integrity of the jurors.